BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Border battle. Tens of thousands of children illegally crossing the border into the United States. Monday, immigration advocates rallied to allow the children to stay in the country—this, as the White House says it is likely most will be deported.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the debate.

A huge wave of undocumented minors have crossed the border. Now the White House is warning they will face deportation.

Immigrant advocates marched on the White House, calling on the president to allow tens of thousands of children who illegally crossed the border to stay in the US.

“Have consideration for these kids. Take this issue very seriously,” said Cindy, who immigrated to the US. “And let these kids stay here because it’s not their fault.”

But Monday, White House officials warned most will be sent back.

“If they are found to not have a legal basis for remaining this country, they will be returned,” said White House Press Secretary John Earnest.

The US has released graphic commercials across Central America warning not to come here.

A surge of more than 50,000 unaccompanied children has forced the US to open border detention centers across the southwest. At one point, federal officials were looking to house some of the children in the former Metro West office building here in Baltimore. That plan was scrapped.

Father Robert Wojtek of Sacred Heart of Jesus in Baltimore hopes leaders respond with compassion.

“We’re not talking about criminals and we’re not talking about adults who are slick and trying to pull one over on us,” he said. “These are children.”

But community activist Angelo Solera worries about the long-term impact.

“This is basically killing immigration reform so now you’re going to have people who were here before who were hoping that immigration reform was going to happen. Now their dreams are dead,” Solera said.

And the future of thousands of children remains up in the air.

The president plans to ask Congress for $2 billion in emergency spending to pay for detention centers and more immigration judges.

The White House had been seeking authority to send minors back home more quickly but they’ve backed off that plan after outrage from immigration advocates.

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