The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a number of immigration bills last week that are not likely to get passed into law but nevertheless have become the subject of strong criticism from both sides of the aisle as well as from immigration advocates and opponents. One of the bills which was adopted with only a single vote from the Democratic Party, called for the allocation of $694 million for the modification of a law against human trafficking that was passed in 2008. The modification would lift certain immigration restrictions and make it easier for unaccompanied underage children who cross the US.-Mexico border to be deported. The bill also has a provision of $35 million in reimbursement funds for governors in border states who have been deploying the National Guard to further fortify the border.
Another bill would disallow the current presidential administration to continue the implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA. DACA is an executive action put forth in 2012 that automatically defers the deportation of immigrant children who arrived in the US prior to 2007. It also keeps the administration from further funding DACA, offering any new programs similar to DACA, or giving authorization of work permits for illegal immigrants.
Immigration advocate groups denounced the bills and claimed that they were simply put forth as a means of appeasement toward the Republican Party’s affiliation with the tea party. Those advocates say that the bills are little more than a collection of orders to send immigrant children fleeing from violence, rape, and murder in their home countries back into those environments from which they traveled a long hard road to get away. Supporters, on the other hand, claim that the legislation, if passed, would mean that young people would have no reason to come to the United States because they would learn that DACA was no longer applicable and deportation would be inevitable which they claim would quell the flow of illegal immigrant children coming into the US without adult accompaniment.
The lawmakers responsible for writing the bills – Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, (R-California) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Jefferson) – have argued that the current “catch and release” policy that is employed has been a disaster. The policy essentially dictates that illegal immigrants who are caught crossing the border are taken into custody and then released to either family members living somewhere in the US or to shelters. The lawmakers say that doing so has given added incentive for others to try their luck at coming to the US and being allowed to stay and that many of those who are caught, particularly young people, are indeed released to places throughout the country and are never heard from again.
As for the Obama administration, the President has stated that he wants to begin working with the leaders of these Central American countries where the majority of immigrants are coming from to address the problems and issues in those countries that are causing these people to want to flee.
If you or someone you know is in need of legal counsel regarding this or any other immigration issue, please contact the Austin immigration attorney at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting their website or calling their offices at 512-215-5225.