House Republicans have made it clear to the president that he will not get the blank check he is seeking to address the humanitarian crisis – the crisis of his own making - at the southern border. The House will instead take up border legislation this week that includes critical policy reforms and targeted funding aligned with the recommendations of the House’s border security working group, led by Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX).
Here are key facts about the bill, courtesy of the House Appropriations Committee:
- Makes changes to a 2008 law to expedite the return of unaccompanied minors to their home countries by treating Central American children the same as those from Mexico. President Obama and members of his administration have repeatedly called for such a change, characterizing it as a “bipartisan priority.”
- Prohibits the Interior and Agriculture secretaries from limiting the activities of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents on federal public lands within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.
- Provides funding for National Guard troops at the southern border which, as Speaker Boehner noted in a letter to the president last month, are “uniquely qualified to respond to such humanitarian crises” and will “relieve the border patrol to focus on their primary duty of securing our border.”
- Pares down the president’s $3.7 billion request to $659 million, which is fully offset by cuts and recessions to existing funds, and specifically targets all funding toward addressing the most immediate needs at the border.
- Provides additional resources for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and CBP operations aimed at securing the border, increasing detention space, and expediting the processing and deportation of unaccompanied children and families.
- Increases the number of temporary immigration judges to enhance the capacity of the immigration court system, allowing the courts to process more cases and reduce the lengthy wait periods between detention and removal.
- Prioritizes repatriation assistance to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador from within existing foreign aid funding to facilitate the return and reintegration of children in their home countries.
- Expresses the Sense of the Congress that unauthorized migrants should not be housed on military installations unless certain conditions are met.
Just as important as what’s in the bill is what won’t be. There is nothing in this bill that would constitute any form of “amnesty” whatsoever – its goals are to secure our border, address the humanitarian crisis, and expedite the return of more migrants to their home countries. And, as Speaker Boehner made abundantly clear to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) yesterday, “the House of Representatives will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion. … Such measures have no place in the effort to solve this crisis, and any attempt to exploit this crisis by adding such measures will run into a brick wall in the People’s House.”
Learn more about the bill from the House Appropriations Committee here.