The House Republicans released a dozen recommendations on Wednesday that are meant to reduce the unprecedented number of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border to come to the United States.
The recommendations include amending the 2008 anti-trafficking law to treat all children from Central America the same as those from Mexico or Canada. This would require unaccompanied minors who dont wish to be voluntarily returned to their home country to be placed under the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services until they get an immigration court hearing, which must occur no more than seven days after theyre screened by child welfare officials.
The recommendations also include deploying National Guard troops to the border and hiring additional judges to expedite immigration court hearings.
Last month, House Speaker John Boehner put together a GOP working group to come up with the recommendations and assigned Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) to lead the group. The recommendations were announced Wednesday during a closed-door Republican meeting.
House Republicans want to include the recommendations in a border bill thats expected to cost $1.5 billion and will be offset by spending cuts. Their bill, which they intent to pass before leaving for the August recess, is much less than the $3.7 billion that President Barack Obama requested to deal with the unaccompanied minors crisis. It is also less than the $2.7 billion that Democrats want to spend.
But for Republicans, getting their border bill passed wont be easy given that Democrats are already voicing their opposition to some of the 12 recommendations made by the GOP working group. For example, Democrats oppose amending the 2008 law and believe that sending National Guard troops to the border is the wrong approach to respond to the humanitarian crisis at the border.
Here are the 12 recommendations made by the GOP working group:
1. Deploy National Guard troops to the southern border to assist Border Patrol in the humanitarian care and needs of unaccompanied minors.
2. Prohibit the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture from denying or restricting U.S. Customs and Border Protection activities on federal land.
3. Require the Department of Homeland Security to come up with a strategy and implementation plan to gain operational control of the Southwest border.
4. Establish an independent third party commission to develop border security metrics as a means to accurately gauge progress on border security.
5. Establish border security in Central American countries and Mexico.
6. Establish repatriation centers in originating countries in order to facilitate the return of families and unaccompanied minors.
7. Deploy aggressive messaging campaigns to dispel immigration myths, clarify that individuals will be deported and advise on the dangers and legal penalties of entering the U.S. illegally.
8. Mandate the detention of all families apprehended at the border with the ultimate goal of processing families within 5-7 days.
9. Amend the Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act of 2008 so all unaccompanied minors are treated the same as those from Mexico or Canada for the purpose of removals.
10. Deploy additional judge teams and temporary judges to expedite the hearing of asylum and credible fear claims.
11. Establish tough penalties for those engaged in human smuggling, including the smuggling of unaccompanied minors, by strengthening penalties for human smugglers and those who assist them.
12. Increase law enforcement operations domestically and in originating countries to disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations and encourage originating countries to pass strict laws against human smuggling.