Difference between revisions of "2014 illegal immigration surge"

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{{FedissuesVNT}}{{tnr}}[[File:FederalAffairsLogo-01.png|left|200px|link=Portal:Federal Affairs]] A '''surge in illegal immigration''' from Central America, due in part to a 2008 law aimed at helping victims of human trafficking. The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act delayed the deportation of unaccompanied minors crossing the border in order to protect them from traffickers.<ref name="2008lawpolitico"/> Other factors argued by lawmakers included increased gang violence in Central America, as well as claims that the administration has been enforcing current immigration laws too lightly.<ref name="whitehousefirstplan">[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/john-boehner-immigration-border-national-guard-obama-108122_Page2.html ''Politico'', "White House unveils new plan to address immigration crisis," June 20, 2014]</ref> As of June 2014, it was estimated that 52,000 unaccompanied minors have entered into the program since October 2013. The process can take months or even years for the children to be given asylum or be reunited with their families.<ref name="2008lawpolitico">[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/what-to-know-08-immigration-law-108774.html ''Politico'', "What to know: ‘08 immigration law," July 10, 2014]</ref>  
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{{FedissuesVNT}}{{tnr}}[[File:FederalAffairsLogo-01.png|left|200px|link=Portal:Federal Affairs]] A '''surge in illegal immigration''' from Central America, due in part to a 2008 law aimed at helping victims of human trafficking. The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act delayed the deportation of unaccompanied minors crossing the border in order to protect them from traffickers.<ref name="2008lawpolitico"/> Other factors argued by lawmakers included increased gang violence in Central America, as well as claims that the administration has been enforced immigration laws too lightly.<ref name="whitehousefirstplan">[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/john-boehner-immigration-border-national-guard-obama-108122_Page2.html ''Politico'', "White House unveils new plan to address immigration crisis," June 20, 2014]</ref> As of June 2014, it was estimated that 52,000 unaccompanied minors have entered into the program since October 2013. The process can take months or even years for the children to be given asylum or be reunited with their families.<ref name="2008lawpolitico">[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/what-to-know-08-immigration-law-108774.html ''Politico'', "What to know: ‘08 immigration law," July 10, 2014]</ref>  
  
 
==Attempts at amending the law==
 
==Attempts at amending the law==

Revision as of 15:29, 22 July 2014


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2014 illegal immigration surge
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A surge in illegal immigration from Central America, due in part to a 2008 law aimed at helping victims of human trafficking. The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act delayed the deportation of unaccompanied minors crossing the border in order to protect them from traffickers.[1] Other factors argued by lawmakers included increased gang violence in Central America, as well as claims that the administration has been enforced immigration laws too lightly.[2] As of June 2014, it was estimated that 52,000 unaccompanied minors have entered into the program since October 2013. The process can take months or even years for the children to be given asylum or be reunited with their families.[1]

Attempts at amending the law

White House attempts

Detention center increase

On June 20, 2014, President Barack Obama released a plan to increase the amount of detention centers, use more ankle bracelets to track immigrants waiting for hearings and shift more immigration judges to southern Texas in order to speed up the hearings process.[2] The same day, Vice President Joe Biden met with the leaders of Central American countries to discuss plans to slow the surge. While the White House announced it would provide Guatemala with $40 million to mitigate gang violence and $25 million to El Salvador to start youth programs for those pressured by gang violence, Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina suggested, "I proposed to the Vice-President the possibility of considering temporary work programs, which would allow (Guatemalans) to go for a time and return." An unnamed U.S. official claimed that the administration's message to those seeking entry into the U.S. legally was increasing, "'Don't come.' And if you think you're coming and once you're here you won't be returned, that's not the case. You're not going to be able to stay."[3]

Democratic lawmakers showed concern over the administration's response to what Obama called a "humanitarian crisis." A spokesperson for Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) insisted Gutierrez, "does not support the idea of putting children and families fleeing violence in detention while they await our courts to catch up to the current crisis."[2] On the other hand, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) argued in a letter to Obama that the National Guard could assume the duty of handling undocumented children crossing the border freeing up Border Patrol to focus on guarding the boundary. He stated in his letter, "While we understand that many of these individuals are coming to this country to escape violence and hardship in their home country, the current climate along the border and our enforcement policies are only encouraging them to risk their lives and those of their children."[2]

Executive order

Having failed to get legislation through Congress, Obama stated on June 30, 2014, that he would use the power of the executive order to achieve his intended goals on immigration if action were not taken. He insisted, "While I will continue to push House Republicans to drop the excuses and act — and I hope their constituents will, too — America cannot wait forever for them to act."[4] On July 19, 2014, Rep. Gutierrez announced at a speech in Los Angeles, California, that he believed Obama would sign an executive order in the coming months that would grant legal status to millions of immigrants.[5]

Funding increase request

On July 9, 2014, Obama requested a $3.7 billion budget increase in order to carry out the administration's plan to create new detention centers and speed up the hearings process. A spokesman for Boehner suggested, "The speaker still supports deploying the National Guard to provide humanitarian support in the affected areas — which this proposal does not address."[6] However, in a closed meeting with House republicans, Boehner urged action on the bill prior to the August recess.[7]

Democratic attempts

On June 24, 2014, democratic lawmakers introduced the Vulnerable Immigrant Voice Act, which would provide lawyers to undocumented and unaccompanied minors and the mentally handicapped during their immigration hearings. Unaccompanied minors can make one of three arguments to stay in the United States after crossing the border illegally. According to The Hill, they "can either claim asylum; claim a special status if they're under 21 and have been abused, neglected or abandoned by one or both parents; or seek a visa if they are victims of serious crimes." However, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), co-sponsor of the bill, claimed, "Some of the children who have come to this country may not have a valid legal basis to remain, but some will. Yet, it is virtually impossible for a child to assert a valid claim under immigration law in the absence of legal representation."[8]

Actions taken

National Guard deployment

Governor of Texas Rick Perry first brought attention to the immigration problem in May 2012, explaining that "there is a surge of unaccompanied illegal minors entering the United States." Again, he wrote a letter to Obama about the issue on July 10, 2014. In the letter, he insisted the president attack the core of the problem, stating, "Securing our border will provide an immediate reduction in the number of illegal immigrants entering our country, which is the source of this current crisis.[9]

On July 21, 2014, Perry used his executive power as governor to call upon the National Guard to assist border patrol in guarding the United States border against illegal immigration. Since Perry activated the National Guard, the state will be charged for their services. Perry additionally requested 3,000 more border patrol agents along the Texas-Mexico border. He named the move Operation Strong Safety, claiming, "The price of inaction is too high."[10]

Recent news

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See also

References