Wednesday October 7th, 2015 6:06AM

Bill would speed removals of Central American kids

By The 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 searched for a solution to the growing crisis. <br /> <br /> The bill 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. <br /> <br /> 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. <br /> <br /> ``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.'' <br /> <br /> 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. <br /> <br /> 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. <br /> <br /> Administration officials were to travel to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to brief senators on the situation, and House members were to hear from lawmakers who traveled to Central America over the weekend as part of a working group convened by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which strongly opposes legal changes to return kids more quickly to dangerous and unstable situations, announced a meeting with President Barack Obama over the crisis. <br /> <br /> Meanwhile U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that the first flight returning Central American families back home landed in Honduras Monday with 40 people on board who'd been held in a new detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico. <br /> <br /> 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. <br /> <br /> The Cornyn-Cuellar bill would allow Central American kids to be treated the same as Mexican youths, who 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. <br /> <br /> 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. <br /> <br /> The bill also aims to speed the court process for those who do enter it.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 9 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 9 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 9 months ago )
U.S. News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 9 months ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 9 months ago )
UN is next stop for Obama after success with Iran, pope; top issues are IS, Syria, Russia
NEW YORK (AP) — Fresh from successes on Iran and with the pope, President Barack Obama still carried heavy burdens into critical meetings this week at the U.N. General Assembly.They include the threat...
3:31PM ( 1 week ago )
Stunning Congress, House Speaker Boehner announces plans to resign; tea party declares victory
WASHINGTON (AP) — Plunging Congress into deeper turmoil, House Speaker John Boehner abruptly announced his resignation Friday, shutting down a tea party drive to depose the nation's highest-ranking Re...
6:14PM ( 1 week ago )
Tornado heavily damages 10 homes but causes no injuries on island in South Carolina
JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — A tornado quickly blew through a neighborhood on the South Carolina coast early Friday and blew out windows, knocked down trees and heavily damaged ten homes.The tornado touc...
5:08PM ( 1 week ago )
Caterpillar says it may cut more than 10,000 jobs by 2018, lowers 2015 revenue expectation
Caterpillar is planning another round of job cuts that could exceed 10,000 people through 2018, as the construction and mining equipment maker adjusts to downturns in key markets.That could amount to...
10:06AM ( 1 week ago )
Escaped tarantula grounds Atlanta-bound flight in Baltimore
An eight-legged creature that escaped in the cargo hold of a passenger flight from Baltimore-Washington International Airport to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International grounded the plane and sent passengers onto another flight.
By The Associated Press
9:06AM ( 1 week ago )