Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) has introduced a bill to close an immigration loophole. This loophole is contributing to the crisis on the Rio Grande Valley along the Texas border. Thousands of people, some who are children, are risking their lives traveling a long and dangerous journey from Central America to the United States claiming refugee status.
Congress is expected to vote on H.R. 5079 the week of July 21 before entering a month long recess. The proposed legislation is an attempt to amend the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, a law that unintentionally created a loophole for unaccompanied children from Central America that are detained illegally crossing the border.
This loophole is drawing hundreds of thousands of migrants to risk their lives traveling from Central America. Many ride along a freight train through Mexico from Central America called ‘La Bestia’ to try and get into the United States. The train is also called the death train and the migrants travel on top of its steel freight cars through Mexico.
“Solving our immigration crisis requires getting at the root of the problem, and if we fail to take steps like closing this loophole the significant challenges we are experiencing now will only continue and grow,” Rep. Calvert said.
The journey from Central America to the Texas border is long and dangerous especially one aided by a smuggler, and Calvert said it is something that no one, especially an unaccompanied child, should endure.
“Americans expect the federal government to respond and quickly address the crisis at the border, which is why both Republicans and Democrats have voiced support for taking this step,” Rep. Calvert said.
In regard to the protests that occurred in Murrieta at end of June, which resulted in three buses of illegal migrants being turned away at the border station, Rep. Calvert said the people of Murrieta did a good job in getting their voice heard around the country. He credits Murrieta for empowering other cities across the nation who are now protesting the migrants shipped to their communities.
Under current law, unaccompanied children from Mexico or Canada can be screened within 48 hours and quickly deported if they are not a trafficking victim or have a claim for asylum. However, children from other countries that are not contiguous with the U.S. must go through a more formal and time consuming legal proceeding.
In fact, unaccompanied children from countries other than Mexico are currently waiting 578 days on average for a hearing. Rep. Calvert’s bill would close the loophole by screening and repatriating all unaccompanied children, regardless of their country-of-origin, in the same process that has worked for unaccompanied children from Mexico and Canada.
According to the congressional representative, the governments in Central America are pushing their own people out of their countries and Mexico is not helping the United States but rather they are enabling the overloading of the United States borders.
“It is cheaper for us to build fences and send the migrants back,” Rep. Calvert said. “The tax payers cannot afford all these people who are here illegally to be in our emergency rooms, schools, on public welfare, taking jobs from United States citizens.”
Calvert, who introduced the employee verification program called E-verify in 2008, hopes the now volunteer program will become mandatory, forcing employers to hire workers eligible to work in the United States.
Through E-Verify, participating employers have successfully instantly verified employment eligibility for 93 percent of new hires to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) database information. Of the remaining 7 percent that were not verified instantly, less than 1 percent of those employees contested the results.
Calvert said the background check system is another step in curbing the lure to come to the United States and live here illegally.
In a press release, Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-49) said, “The President’s unilateral actions have sent a misleading message that resulted in tens of thousands of children making a perilous journey to our country with the belief they would be allowed to stay.”
“This bill is one step of many to rectify the situation,” Rep. Calvert said. “I was also pleased by the recent announcement by Customs and Border Protection that they will not be transferring any more illegal immigrant families or children to the San Diego sector, which includes the Murrieta facility in my congressional district.
Citizens who want to track this bill and learn how each congressional representative voted can go to http://dyn.realclearpolitics.com/congressional_bill_tracker/bill/113/hr5079.
The following website lists the 18 co-sponsors.