How a flood of kids upended immigration debate

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The yearlong deliberation over immigration has taken a head-snapping detour.

The debate was once about how to fix the system and provide a path to citizenship for millions.

Now it's a race to decide how to increase border patrols and return people quickly to their country of origin.

The sudden rise in the number of families and unaccompanied minors from Central America crossing the border has refocused attention on immigration — but not on the terms that President Barack Obama and immigrant advocates envisioned.

Obama had demanded action to give millions of immigrants in the U.S. illegally a way to citizenship. Republicans balked. He threatened to act on his own.

Now the White House is focused on the influx of border-crossers and returning as many as quickly as possible.

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