The Center for Immigration Studies has released an analysis of the House Leadership’s border bill. The analysis concludes that while the spending provisions are more focused on repatriation of the illegal crossers and thus a significant improvement over the Senate and White House proposals, the provisions on handling Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) are more lenient than current law, assuring that the influx of juveniles will continue. The bill fails to address the lax interior enforcement policies that are the main motivation for the surge of illegal crossings.
The bill’s spending provisions improve on the Senate and White House proposals by:
- Giving less spending discretion to the executive agencies;
- Prioritizing temporary detention of illegal crossers, not long-term care and custody;
- Boosting resources for immigration courts to focus on the surge and rescinds funding to be used for legal representation of illegal aliens;
- Slashing the administration’s request for services to illegal crossers by 90%.
Nevertheless, the bill fails to live up to House Leadership’s claims to solve the border crisis, because it creates a new, more lenient process for UACs to obtain legal status. It repeats the biggest mistakes of the Cornyn-Cuellar HUMANE Act by:
- Erasing the distinction between UACs who are citizens of contiguous and non-contiguous countries – this would allow UACs from Mexico and Canada to receive the same extensive immigration proceedings accorded to other juvenile illegal crossers;
- Creating a new, more lenient process to allow all illegal juveniles to ask immigration judges for legal status through a “special motion”;
- Failing to provide for accelerated processing of UAC cases. The bill says that proceedings must begin in seven days, but has no measures to ensure the prompt conclusion.
Says Senior Research Fellow Dan Cadman, the author of the report: “While the appropriations sections of the bill are a great improvement over the President’s request, the sections of the bill addressing the processing of unaccompanied alien children will cause more problems than they solve. “
The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization founded in 1985. It is the nation’s only think tank devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States.