Bill would speed removals of Central American kids - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Bill would speed removals of Central American kids

Posted: Updated:
  • ImmigrationMore>>

  • Senate reprieve for highly contested border bill

    Senate reprieve for highly contested border bill

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 4:29 PM EDT2014-07-30 20:29:12 GMT
    A bill to deal with the immigration surge at the border appears headed for procedural defeat in the Senate.
    A bill to deal with the immigration surge on the U.S.-Mexico border won a temporary reprieve in the Senate Wednesday as lawmakers maneuvered to offer some response to the crisis before adjourning for the summer.
  • Smugglers cut through US-Mexico border fence

    Smugglers cut through US-Mexico border fence

    Suspected smugglers have cut a garage-sized hole through a steel fence that divides the United States and Mexico.
    Suspected smugglers have cut a garage-sized hole through a steel fence that divides the United States and Mexico.
  • House to vote on slimmed-down bill for border

    House to vote on slimmed-down bill for border

    House Republicans are heading toward a vote Thursday on a slimmed-down bill to address the immigration crisis on the border by sending in National Guard troops and speeding unaccompanied migrant youths back to...
    House Republicans are heading toward a vote Thursday on a slimmed-down bill to address the immigration crisis on the border by sending in National Guard troops and speeding unaccompanied migrant youths back to Central...
 By ERICA WERNER
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Two Texas lawmakers announced legislation Monday to speed removals of tens of thousands of Central American kids from the U.S.-Mexico border, as Washington groped for a solution to the mounting crisis.

Legislation brought forward by Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, and Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, would allow U.S. Border Patrol agents to turn many of the kids around quickly at the border. Under current law, the youths stay here while awaiting an eventual hearing in the backlogged immigration court system, something that can keep them in this country for years.

Of more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors who've arrived at the border since October, only 1,254 had been returned home as of the end of June, according to a law enforcement official who spoke anonymously to discuss confidential data.

"The border region in Texas has been overwhelmed over the past few months by a deluge of undocumented immigrants from Central America," Cuellar said in a statement. "Today's legislation strengthens current law protecting unaccompanied children and responds to the crisis."

The bill comes as the White House is trying to get Congress to sign off on a $3.7 billion emergency spending request to deal with the situation at the border by adding more immigration judges and detention facilities, among other steps.

Republicans have made clear they won't agree to such spending without policy changes along the lines of what Cornyn and Cuellar are seeking, and the White House has indicated support for some such changes. But immigrant advocacy groups and key Senate Democrats are opposed, making it unclear if a deal can be struck in the three weeks that remain before Congress leaves Washington for its annual August recess.

The Cornyn-Cuellar bill would amend a 2008 law passed to address victims of sex trafficking. That legislation guaranteed protections to unaccompanied youths arriving here from "noncontiguous" countries - anywhere except Mexico or Canada. The existing law requires such youths to be turned over to the custody of the Health and Human Services Department within 72 hours, and from there they are generally placed with family members or others while awaiting a long-distant court hearing they may never attend.

The Cornyn-Cuellar bill would allow Central American kids to be treated the same as those from Mexico, whose people can be sent back over the border quickly unless they are able to persuade Border Patrol agents that they have a fear of return, meriting further screening.

White House and Obama administration officials have said they support this change, but in face of objections from allies in the immigrant advocacy community they have yet to propose it officially. Spokesman Josh Earnest said the White House welcomes "constructive engagement from Republicans" but will wait to see the actual legislation.

Copyright 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