clear
Wednesday July 29th, 2015 5:26AM

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 AccessWDUN.com
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 ( 6 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 ( 6 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 ( 6 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 ( 6 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 ( 6 months ago )
Politics
The Latest on missing boys: Search crews enter 5th night
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — The latest on the search for the two Florida teens who went missing while on a fishing trip off Florida's Atlantic coast:7:35 p.m.The Coast Guard says it is moving forward with a...
7:41PM ( 9 hours ago )
Kerry implores Congress to back Iran nuclear deal
WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry warned skeptical lawmakers not to nix the contentious nuclear deal with Iran, insisting that it includes strict inspections and other safeguards to dete...
7:34PM ( 9 hours ago )
Court orders EPA to redo air-pollution limits in 13 states
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to relax some limits it set on smokestack emissions that cross state lines and taint downwind areas wit...
6:16PM ( 11 hours ago )
Short-term highway deal punts another fight until fall
WASHINGTON (AP) — House and Senate Republicans acknowledged Tuesday a long-term highway deal is out of reach for now, and embraced a three-month extension that will punt yet another messy fight into t...
4:30PM ( 12 hours ago )
Strong home sales, limited supply lift US home prices in May
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose steadily in May, pushed higher by a healthy increase in sales this year.The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index climbed 4.9 percent in May f...
12:05PM ( 17 hours ago )