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Difference between revisions of "2014 illegal immigration surge"
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On June 24, 2014,
On June 24, 2014, 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."<ref>[http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/210330-house-bill-unveiled-to-assist-unaccompanied-minors-at-border#ixzz38D6PeCeS ''The Hill'', "Bill would provide lawyers to children crossing border," June 24
Revision as of 14:02, 23 July 2014
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. 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."
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." 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."
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." 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.
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." However, in a closed meeting with House republicans, Boehner urged action on the bill prior to the August recess.
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."
Republican House members released a list of 12 policy ideas that help the border crisis. The main policy was targeted at changing the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act to treat unaccompanied minors from Central American countries the same as Mexican or Canadian children crossing the border illegally, a change that democrats did not agree with. The change would allow the child to go voluntarily back to their country instead of waiting under the care of a sponsor until their immigration court date in the United States, which could take years. Their proposal also increased the number of available immigration judges in order to speed up the hearings process and called for harsher penalties on human traffickers. The Republicans' proposal included a $1.5 billion in emergency funding to be evened out with spending cuts in other areas. On the immigration issue along the border, Boehner stated, "The president clearly isn’t going to deal with it on his own even though he has the authority to deal with it. But I do believe the Congress should act, and I’m hopeful they do.
National Guard deploymentGovernor 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.
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."
Multiple state governors voiced their displeasure with the handling of the unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the border into the United States. The reasons varied from the childrens' health and safety, border security, the cost to states of caring for them and having them transported by the federal government to their states without notification. The most notable comments were:
- The governors of Utah, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Alabama, North Carolina and Wisconsin wrote letters to President Obama urging the administration to speed up the deportation process for the children or else the administrations actions, "will send a message that will encourage a much larger movement towards our southern border."
- Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) wrote a letter stating he would do everything in his power to stop the federal government from transporting the illegal immigrants to the state. He also blamed the weak enforcement of border policies for the "serious threat of violence and abuse at the hands of human traffickers" that the many immigrants faced in getting to the United States.
- Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) argued that the administration was putting the unaccompanied minors into potentially dangerous situations, claiming, "During the call, it was confirmed what I have long suspected – the Obama administration has specifically chosen to avoid its due diligence and is releasing Unaccompanied Alien Children into the care and custody of so-called ‘sponsors’ — individuals about whom the administration does not check immigration or deportation status."
- New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez (R) stated that it "is a 100% federal issue," and it needed to be addressed in by Congress.
- The Connecticut, Colorado, Maryland and Delaware governors all offered some type of assistance in helping ease the situation.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Immigration + surge
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Politico, "What to know: ‘08 immigration law," July 10, 2014
- Politico, "White House unveils new plan to address immigration crisis," June 20, 2014
- Reuters, "Central America presses Biden on migrant rights as U.S. vows aid," June 20, 2014
- New York Times, "Obama Says He’ll Order Action to Aid Immigrants," June 30, 2014
- L.A. Times, "Congressman optimistic Obama will grant immigrants legal status," July 19, 2014
- USA Today, "Obama seeks $3.7B to stem tide of kids crossing border," July 9, 2014
- Politico, "John Boehner urges action on border bill," July 9, 2014
- The Hill, "Bill would provide lawyers to children crossing border," June 24, 2014
- Politico, "House GOP offers border fix plan," July 23, 2014
- Politico, "Rick Perry writes again to Barack Obama on border," July 10, 2014
- CNN, "Perry sending National Guard troops to border," July 21, 2014
- The Washington Post, "At least 32 governors have weighed in on the border crisis. Here’s what each has said.," July 23, 2014