Border Crisis Spurs Immigration Debate
Since October 2013, authorities on the United States’ southwest border have apprehended tens of thousands of unaccompanied Latin American children attempting to enter the country illegally, according to the Washington Post. Lawmakers from both parties have raised questions about President Obama’s inaction and the administration’s lack of preparation for this growing problem.
According to Cecilia Muñoz, the White House domestic policy director, the President’s goal is to stop parents from illegally sending their children across the border. She said, “He feels intensely a responsibility to prevent an even greater humanitarian crisis.” The President has asked congress for nearly $4 billion to deal with the border emergency, and warned that the children may be sent back to their home countries. Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland criticized the call for mass deportation, saying, “I believe it is contrary to everything we believe as people to summarily send children back to death.”
The Washington Post reported Saturday that there were signs the immigration of minors was going to become a huge problem. In May 2012, Governor Rick Perry of Texas wrote a letter to President Obama to warn him, saying, “there is a surge of unaccompanied illegal minors entering the United States. Apart from being part of an obvious humanitarian crisis, these unaccompanied illegal minors have left the federal government scrambling to triage the results of its failed border security and immigration policies.”
On Sunday, House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul of Texas stressed that Congress needs to act to solve the immigration fiasco before the August recess. Politico reported Sunday that Chairman McCaul and House Republicans are looking for a “targeted approach” and that emergency funding would likely only run through the end of this fiscal year, saying “Our view, I think, as House Republicans, is look, we’re not going to write a blank check.”
According to The Hill, a bipartisan bill will be introduced this week by Senator John Cornyn and Representative Henry Cuellar from Texas to help the Obama administration be better equipped to handle the unaccompanied child immigrants. It would amend a 2008 human trafficking law to allow the migrants to receive their immigration hearing within seven days of a Department of Health and Human Services screening, with the immigration judge ruling on their case within 72 hours. Those who are victims of human trafficking and those who have compelling reasons for amnesty would be able to stay, while the rest would be returned to their families.
Mixed Reactions to Florida Redistricting Ruling
On Thursday, Circuit Judge Terry Lewis ruled that the congressional redistricting in Florida’s 5th and 10th districts was unconstitutional. This ruling effectively invalidated the entire 2012 state redistricting, but it has not yet been seen how or if this will affect the elections in November.
There have been mixed reactions to this ruling by Florida democrats. Roll Call reported Friday that there is speculation that this decision will reopen the candidate filing window, allowing the democrats to find someone to challenge Representative David Jolly in Florida’s 13th district after they failed to recruit a viable candidate before the first window closed. Many Florida democrats, including Representative Alan Grayson, support the decision. Representative Connie Brown of Florida’s 5th District, however, plans to fight the ruling. She issued a statement on Thursday Night, say he was “disappointed with the ruling,” adding that “we will go all the way to the United States Supreme Court.” Republicans in Florida are also expected to appeal the decision.
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