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To Stem Tide of Child Migrants, Portman Says Send Strong Message to Home Countries

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The federal government is struggling to respond to a flood of Central American children trying to enter the United States. Republican Senator Rob Portman says the crisis requires a clear message to their home countries. ideastream’s Joanna Richards reports.

Friday, July 18, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Portman called the flood of child migrants a humanitarian crisis. He said violence and poverty in Central America are part of the problem – but so is widespread misunderstanding of U.S. law.

So, he said, the U.S. needs to counter those ideas with a different message:

"We have an immigration system that does not permit, you know, kids to walk across the border, claim citizenship, and bring their families. That’s not how it works," he said.

Portman said many migrants believe they will be able to stay in the country because they have false impressions of policies meant to protect sex trafficking victims, and ease life for young people already here.

The senator appeared at The City Club of Cleveland, where he was speaking about his anti-poverty agenda.

He says he also supports President Obama’s request for funding to deal with the immediate humanitarian crisis at the border, and some expansion of foreign aid.