In a letter to President Obama, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said he would not allow the government to send immigrant children to sponsors within his state without consultation.
“To the extent permitted by law, I intend to prohibit the federal government or its agents from housing large numbers of new illegal immigrants in the state of Mississippi,” Bryant wrote, according to the Associated Press.
“Illegal immigration imposes real and substantial costs on the states, and it is unfair to expect the states to bear the costs of a problem created by the federal government’s failure to enforce the law.”
Bryant’s letter comes as demonstrations unfold in numerous states. Last week, about 50 people came together in Vassar, Michigan to express their outrage over a proposal to house undocumented minors at a local shelter, while similar events occurred in other states.
In Murrieta, California, anti-immigrant advocates were challenged by pro-immigrant supporters who believe the border situation is a humanitarian crisis – not an invitation to increase deportations. More than 150 activists engaged in the demonstration.
Obama will reportedly take “very significant” executive action to deal with the burgeoning immigration crisis, but he told Central American leaders on Friday that most undocumented minors will be sent back to their native countries.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer told reporters that executive action on immigration will occur after the summer, and that President Obama will risk the ire of Republicans – some of which have called for impeachment – by going alone in order to deal with the situation.
Meanwhile, Obama met with the leaders of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador on Friday to discuss how the four countries could work together to resolve the situation. Tens of thousands of undocumented children have entered the United States illegally since October of last year, the majority of which are believed to have traveled from these three Central American nations.
As reported by Reuters, Obama said that while he understands many children have crossed into the US to escape violence and poverty at home, many will not be eligible to stay as refugees.
"There may be some narrow circumstances in which there is a humanitarian or refugee status that a family might be eligible for," Obama said, as quoted by the news service. "But I think it's important to recognize that that would not necessarily accommodate a large number."
One thing Obama would like to do is remove the belief that families must send their children to the US through smugglers. A possible solution detailed by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest could be allowing children to apply for refugee status in the US while living in their native country.
"The idea here is that in order to deter them from making that dangerous journey, we'd set up a system in coordination with these host countries to allow those claims to be filed in that country without them having to make that dangerous journey," Earnest said.
Still, Honduran President Juan Orlando told reporters that children who have now entered the United States seeking a parent “have rights, and we want them to be respected.”
The fate of these children has become a political minefield, with anti-immigrant advocates across the US protesting the possibility that children may be sheltered temporarily while their cases unfold.