Will A Bi-Partisan Border Bill Work?

17 Jul 2014 07:57

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ANALYSIS — ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: A week ago, President Obama implored the Texas Congressional delegation to step up and help address the crisis at the border. Today, the bipartisan duo of Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Henry Cuellar are doing just that as they introduce their bill to swiftly return young migrants to Central America. Their proposal is being met with sharp criticism from many Democrats and most immigrant-right groups, who say the U.S. has a moral responsibility to help kids who are fleeing their violent home countries. The House could take up the bill first, opening the door to the first real debate about the humanitarian crisis at the border. The White House knows that its $3.7 billion emergency spending request faces a steep climb without some significant reforms. Will any other Democrats sign onto this plan?m-shoesbox

WHAT THE BILL DOES: The bill, the Helping Unaccompanied Minors and Alleviating National Emergency (HUMANE) Act, to be introduced today, expedites an immigration court hearing for minors to within seven days of their Department of Homeland Security screening, notes ABC’s JAKE LEFFERMAN. Within 72 hours of that proceeding, an immigration judge would determine if the child were eligible for relief and able to continue proceedings in the U.S. If they are deemed ineligible, they would be swiftly returned to their country of origin. This differs from the current law, which could see a court hearing pushed months or years out, with minors returned to relatives or placed in foster care.

WHAT THE POLLS SHOW: More than half of Americans in a new ABC News-Washington Post poll support a White House plan to address an influx of Central American children crossing the border from Mexico, though the president himself receives poor ratings for handling the issue – as do his Republican critics in Congress, notes ABC’s RYAN STRUYK. Only a third of Americans approve of the way Barack Obama is handling the issue of undocumented immigrants entering the United States. But even fewer approve of how the Republicans in Congress are dealing with it – 23 percent, including fewer than half of Republicans themselves. Those poor political ratings aside, 53 percent support the plan to spend $3.7 billion to address the immediate problem of unaccompanied, undocumented children entering the country. Still, sharp partisan divisions mark that view: Sixty-six percent of Democrats support the proposal, advanced by Obama last week, dropping to 51 percent of independents and just 35 percent of Republicans.

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