Faster deportations? A possible border crisis deal - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Faster deportations? A possible border crisis deal

Posted: Updated:
  • ImmigrationMore>>

  • Transgendered inmate demands to be released following rape claim

    Transgendered inmate demands to be released following rape claim

    A transgendered inmate at the ICE detention center in Eloy is demanding she be released after she claims she was harassed and raped.Eloy Police have confirmed they are investigating her claims.
    A transgendered inmate at the ICE detention center in Eloy is demanding she be released after she claims she was harassed and raped.Eloy Police have confirmed they are investigating her claims.
  • Arizona county to drop appeal in smuggling case

    Arizona county to drop appeal in smuggling case

    County officials have agreed to drop an appeal of a ruling that bars authorities in metropolitan Phoenix from charging immigrants who paid to be sneaked into the country with conspiring to smuggle themselves into...
    County officials have agreed to drop an appeal of a ruling that bars authorities in metropolitan Phoenix from charging immigrants who paid to be sneaked into the country with conspiring to smuggle themselves into the country.
  • Divided House abandons vote on border bill

    Divided House abandons vote on border bill

    House Republicans abruptly abandoned a bill to address the immigration crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday after last-minute maneuvering failed to lock down sufficient conservative support.
    House Republicans abruptly abandoned a bill to address the immigration crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday after last-minute maneuvering failed to lock down sufficient conservative support.
By ERICA WERNER and ALICIA A. CALDWELL
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Outlines of a possible compromise that would more quickly deport minors arriving from Central America emerged Thursday as part of President Barack Obama's $3.7 billion emergency request to address the immigration crisis on the nation's southern border.

Republicans demanded speedier deportations, which the White House initially had supported but left out of its proposal after complaints from immigrant advocates and some Democrats. On Thursday, the top House and Senate Democrats pointedly left the door open to them.

"It's not a deal-breaker," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "Let them have their face-saver. But let us have the resources to do what we have to do." Her spokesman Drew Hammill later clarified that any changes "must ensure due process for these children."

In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said: "I'm not going to block anything. Let's see what comes to the floor."

But opposition arose late in the day from a key Democratic senator, suggesting battles ahead before any deal could be struck.

"I can assure you that I will fight tooth and nail changes in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act," Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy said at a hearing on the situation, referring to the law Republicans want to change.

Noting that the arriving migrants include young girls trying to escape sex violence and gangs, Leahy said: "I'm not sure Americans all really feel we should immediately send them back."

Reid and Pelosi made their comments as House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., both said they didn't want to give Obama a "blank check" to deal with the crisis of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children arriving at the Texas border, many fleeing gangs and drawn by rumors they would be able to stay in the U.S. Boehner and McConnell indicated policy changes would be necessary to win their support.

"We want to make sure we actually get the right tools to help fix the problem," McConnell said. Obama "needs to work with us to get the right policy into effect."

The developments came as Obama's Homeland Security secretary, Jeh Johnson, defended the emergency spending request at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He said that without the money, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol agencies would both run out of money in the next two months, and the Homeland Security Department "would need to divert significant funds from other critical programs just to maintain operations."

At issue is a law approved in 2008. Passed to give protection to sex trafficking victims, it requires court hearings for migrant young people who arrive in this country from "noncontiguous" countries - anywhere other than Mexico or Canada.

Because of enormous backlogs in the immigration court system, the result in the current crisis is that kids streaming in from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are released to relatives or others in the U.S. with notices to appear at long-distant court hearings that many of them never will attend.

Republicans want the government to have the authority to treat Central American kids the same way as kids from Mexico, who can be removed quickly unless they convince Border Patrol that they have a fear of return that merits additional screening.

"I think clearly we would probably want the language similar to what we have with Mexico," Boehner said.

White House officials have said they support such changes and indicated last week that they would be offering them along with the emergency spending request. But immigration advocates objected strongly, saying children would be denied legal protections, and the White House has not yet made a formal proposal.

Asked Thursday about the issue, Johnson said he supported changing the law to treat children from Central American nations the same as those from Mexico.

"We want the flexibility in the current situation to have that discretion," he said.

Advocates said they remained strongly opposed and expressed anger that after comprehensive immigration reform failed to advance in Congress this year, lawmakers may be headed toward a vote on deporting minors more quickly.

"They weren't able to get immigration reform done in this Congress and this is going to be the only piece of immigration that gets done, a bill that says we're going to deport children fleeing violence faster," said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. "If Democrats can't stand up to this and be the party that's protecting children and refugees, it's a really sad day for the country."

More than 57,000 unaccompanied children have arrived since October even as tens of thousands more have arrived traveling as families, mostly mothers with their children.

Many are trying to reunite with family members and to escape a spike in violence in their countries, but they also report hearing rumors that once here, they would be allowed to stay. Republicans blame Obama policies aimed at curbing deportations of immigrants brought into the country illegally as children for contributing to those rumors, something Obama administration officials have largely rejected.

The situation has complicated the already rancorous debate over remaking the nation's immigration laws at a moment when Obama has declared legislative efforts to do so dead and announced plans to proceed on his own executive authority to change the flawed system where he can.

---

AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace in Dallas contributed to this report.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Didn't find what
you were looking for?

Powered by WorldNow

KSAZ-TV & KUTP
511 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Phone: (602) 257-1234
Fax: (602) 262-0177

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices