Recently, news has surfaced that there may very well be a potential compromise related to removal proceedings of minors who have recently crossed into the United States without documentation. Over the last few weeks, there has been an increased number of unaccompanied minors attempting to come into the U.S. after leaving their home countries in Central America.
As pbs.org reports, the plans were made public after President Obama requested $3.7 billion in emergency funding to help with the crisis at the border. In addition, members of the GOP had been calling for quicker deportations of the minors.
At first, the White House agreed with Republicans, but subsequently “left out its proposal after complaints from immigrant advocates and some Democrats.” However, Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate did not shut down talks completely. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that it was not a “deal-breaker,” as long as they can still receive the necessary resources “to do what we have to do.”
Meanwhile, in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid said that he does not want to “block anything. Let's see what comes to the floor.” These comments from Reid and Pelosi around the same time that House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said that they would not be giving President Obama a “blank check” in order to alleviate the problems associated with the surge of unaccompanied children attempting to cross the border near the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.
Many feel that this increase in immigrant children is because of the terrible violence happening everyday in many of these Central American countries, as well as the thinking that these children would be allowed to stay in the U.S. Because of these rumors and misconceptions, Boehner and McConnell are asking for policy changes before they would give support to the president. “We want to make sure we actually get the right tools to help fix the problem,” McConnell said.
These recent discussions about policy change came at the same time as Jeh Johnson, Homeland Security Secretary, supported the president's appeal for emergency funding from Congress. Johnson explained that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) would most certainly “run out of money in August and the Homeland Security Department ‘would need to divert significant funds from other critical programs just to maintain operations.'”
The plan to send these children back to their homes faster than usual runs into a problem. In 2008, President George W. Bush approved a law that was meant to offer protection to victims of sex trafficking. The law states that court hearings are required for “migrant young people who arrive in this country from noncontiguous countries.” Republicans are hoping that there can be a change made in order to deal with children from Central America the same way as those from Mexico: removed expeditiously unless Border Patrol agents determine that these children “have a fear of return that merits additional screening.”
If you are seeking counsel for immigration matters, please give my office a call. We can schedule a time to meet for an initial consultation and review the facts of your case.