In an effort to ease the burden on the border, two Texas lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill aimed at reforming immigration policies. Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, and Congressman Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, proposed new legislation that would essentially expedite the deportation of undocumented children at the U.S.-Mexican border.
Currently, about 57,000 unaccompanied migrant children have crossed into Texas illegally. The scores of migrant children overwhelm shelters in south Texas; about 2,000-kids will soon be temporarily housed in Dallas county.
“The average cost of dealing with an unaccompanied minor was $250 to $1,000 a day. That is unbelievable,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said.
The proposed HUMANE Act would basically revamp the existing 2008 law that protects immigrant children from countries that don’t border the U.S. Here’s how the proposed bill breaks down:
Migrant children from Central America will have 7-days to request asylum, once screened by health workers. Immigration judges have 72-hours to determine if kids are eligible for relief. If denied, the children would be deported immediately. The proposal is already generating heat from critics.
Some in Dallas say the act is anything but humane.
“This bill is not a good proposal; we should be figuring out a way to help these children more and help figure out how we can reunite them with their families here in the U.S.,” Danny Cendejas said.
Members with Texas Organizing Project rallied outside Sen. Cornyn’s district office in Dallas.
The bill comes on the heels of President Obama’s efforts to get Congress to secure $3.7 billion in emergency funds to help combat the border crisis.
“The real goal is to stem the tide of unaccompanied minors. This is a crisis,” Republican Sen/ Jeff Flake of Arizona said.
Meanwhile, in Arlington, removed from the world of politics, Pastor Russell Hilderbrandt reflects on his recent experience.
“There’s 44-children in the orphanage, New Hope Life, and our goal is to go down there and love on the kids and take care of their physical needs and spiritual needs.”
Hilderbrandt is the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church. He just returned from a mission trip to Honduras.
“What I saw was poverty; poverty on a much higher level than in the United States. I don’t know what’s going on inside those homes, but you can see these kids would like to have a better life.”
An experience that perhaps provides a realistic view, on an often convoluted crisis.