Texas Lawmakers to Introduce Border Bill
Two Texas lawmakers say they plan to introduce a bipartisan bill on Tuesday intended to combat the humanitarian crisis at the nation’s southern border and make it easier to send migrant children from Central America back to their home countries.
The legislation is expected to encounter resistance from some congressional Democrats. It comes as the White House has signaled a willingness to work with Republicans to win passage of President Obama’s request for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to confront the surge of Central American migrants into the United States, with a heavy concentration of them in Texas.
The legislation by the two Texas lawmakers — Senator John Cornyn, the chamber’s No. 2 Republican, and Representative Henry Cuellar, a Democrat — would amend a 2008 law intended to stop sex trafficking that grants migrant children from Central America extra legal protections when they cross the border, protections that Mr. Obama has said make it harder to return the children quickly to their home countries.
Though the prospects of a broad immigration overhaul — which passed the Senate with bipartisan support in June 2013 — officially died in the Republican-controlled House this summer, the president’s request for emergency funds to fight what he called “an urgent humanitarian situation” has turned into a partisan proxy fight over the nation’s immigration system.
Republicans have signaled that, at the least, they expect to amend the 2008 law, a move they hope will deter families from sending their children to the United States as it becomes clear that they are likely to be returned home.