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Mayors call on Congress to tackle illegal immigration

border-fence
border-fence

By Lisa Maria Garza

DALLAS (Reuters) - U.S. mayors on Sunday called for Congress to draw up bipartisan legislation to address a surge of illegal immigrants into the United States and asked for help to ease the resulting financial burden on local governments.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors said at their annual meeting in Dallas they are asking congressional Democrats and Republicans for legislation to increase border security and support city and state governments whose finances are being strained by costs associated to illegal immigration.

"Forget the D thing. Forget the R thing. This is an American issue," said Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, a Republican and co-chair of the Immigration Reform Task Force, a bipartisan group within the United States Conference of Mayors.

Since October, 52,000 unaccompanied children have arrived on the U.S. border with Mexico, the Department of Homeland Security said on Friday, underscoring an immigration problem seen by the White House as a humanitarian crisis.

The White House last week stepped up efforts to slow the flow of illegal children into the country, expanding the government's ability to process and deport people and announcing new funding to boost security in crime-plagued Central American countries.

Republicans blame the influx of children on President Barack Obama's 2012 decision to give temporary relief from deportation to some young people brought to the United States illegally by their parents.

The Obama administration's push for U.S. immigration reform has stalled in Congress amid partisan bickering.

(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Paul Simao)

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