Humanitarian Crisis At Our Border
There is a humanitarian crisis at our border. Data clearly shows a record number of individuals are crossing our border, overwhelming entry points and causing a massive backlog in processing and courtroom hearings.
According to the Washington Post, “U.S. Border Patrol agents have apprehended 56,278 unaccompanied minors this fiscal year, a 74 percent increase over the same time last year...” Another Post article finds, “The crush of migrants has been putting HHS on track to house the largest number of children in its history. HHS had 13,200 minors in custody as of Sunday, most of them teenage boys.” Yet, for months Democrats have refused to acknowledge the crisis taking place along the border. Even the New York Times and officials from the Obama Administration have acknowledged the extent and severity of the situation.
On seventeen occasions, Democrats in the House have blocked motions to vote on H.R. 3056, legislation that would provide $4.5 billion for the humanitarian crisis at our border. They refuse to even bring this bill to the floor of the House for debate. H.R. 3056 is a commonsense proposal that would provide much needed border aid, including:
- $3.3 billion for humanitarian assistance including shelter capacity for unaccompanied children, care for children in custody, transportation, and safe and efficient border processing centers.
- $1.1 billion for operational support including personnel, transportation, and resources to combat human smuggling and trafficking.
- $178 million for technology upgrades and law enforcement pay adjustments to respond to the influx of migrants.
- It does not provide funds to investigate human traffickers smuggling unrelated children across the border.
They also rejected a Republican budget proposal to redirect $75 million to hire 100 new judges and support staff to start addressing the crippling immigration court backlog which is exacerbating the current humanitarian crisis. Immigration judges within the Executive Office of Immigration Review are responsible for hearing and adjudicating immigration and asylum cases for those apprehended at the border. There is currently a backlog of 900,000 cases that need adjudication, and the average wait is over 2 years. More judges would ensure that cases could be heard swiftly and those who had a valid claim could stay with lawful status and those who didn’t would be immediately sent home instead of released into the U.S.
On social media, these same House Democrats project to care about immigrants suffering at the border, yet when given the opportunity to support commonsense proposals to provide resources, they chose to play partisan politics instead.
Instead of funding more judges or overtime pay for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers around the clock, their proposal includes things like $2 million for a 1-800-number for migrants. It doesn’t provide funding for additional beds for individuals who have illegally crossed our border and are waiting for their immigration hearing. It restricts the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from sending additional personnel to the border to help the overwhelmed officers and agents working over-time. It ties the hands of officials at Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from changing policies to improve child welfare as it relates to the handling of unaccompanied alien children. It restricts DHS and HHS from being able to communicate with each other and share information regarding families detained and unaccompanied alien children.
The Democrats’ proposal flies in the face of facts. We need additional human trafficking investigators and immigration judges now more than ever. Data and news reports reveal there is an increase of adults coming to the border with children fraudulently posing as families. It is devastating, but true that smugglers are preying on poverty-stricken villages in Central America with the offer of money in exchange for taking a child to the border.
This is an extremely perilous situation for these children who are at high risk of abuse at the hands of smugglers and their “fake” families. According to a recent Washington Post report, “…CBP agents had separated 170 families after determining the child and the adult traveling together were unrelated. In Guatemalan villages, community leaders fear more children will be exploited. ‘This is a crime. This is human trafficking…’
On Thursday evening, June 27, 2019, months after the crisis at our border began and 58 days after President Trump requested additional funding to for much needed resources, the Democrats were finally willing to accept something real had to be done. Democrat leadership allowed a vote on the Senate’s bipartisan funding legislation, which passed the House with strong bipartisan support. Much needed resources for humanitarian assistance and security will soon be on its way to our southern border.