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Officials Acknowledge Kids Are Overwhelming US Border

Updated: Thursday, July 10 2014, 03:41 PM CDT

Top Obama administration officials are telling senators that they've been struggling to keep up with the surge of immigrants at the nation's southern border.

The administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency testified today that authorities haven't yet been able to make sure that children arriving at the border without their parents are being processed by the Border Patrol as quickly as required. Craig Fugate says there's been "progress," but that sometimes there are "sudden influxes of kids coming in faster than we can discharge them."

Republicans at the hearing blamed the Obama administration for trying to relax some deportation rules. They said it contributes to the belief in Central America that once they are in the U.S., migrant kids will be allowed to stay.

And Republican Sen. John McCain noted that a high percentage of children fleeing El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are able to succeed in their goal of staying in America -- because they are issued notices to appear at court hearings, and many of them never do. McCain said, "Your odds are pretty good."

The administration says it wants more flexibility to turn the kids around more quickly. Current law requires minors from countries other than Mexico and Canada to go through the court system, in what is often a lengthy process.

(Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Officials Acknowledge Kids Are Overwhelming US Border

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