Rep. Salmon Reintroduces the Expedited Family Reunification Act

Mar 8, 2016
Press Release
Closes Loopholes to Speed Reunification of Central American Families

Washington, D.C. — Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) today released the following statement upon reintroduction of the Expedited Family Reunification Act. 

“Two years ago, America saw a surge in unaccompanied alien children (UACs) on our southern border.  These children are torn from their homes and lives, and sent by their parents on a perilous journey, trusting cartel members, drug traffickers, rapists, and killers to smuggle them across America’s unprotected southern border with the understanding that they will be given de facto citizenship once they arrive.  So well-known are the dangers of this journey, that many parents, expecting their daughters to be raped, purchase birth control for them before they depart.

“Under current law, unaccompanied alien children illegally crossing from Mexico and Canada can be immediately returned to their families.  Unfortunately, children coming from non-contiguous countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador cannot be returned home in an expedited manner.  This policy is not only sending the wrong message to Central American families, but is putting children at terrible risk.  We must send a clear message that children belong with their families, not in government holding cells.  I’m proud to reintroduce this bill to allow our immigration agents to quickly reunite these children with their families in their home countries.”

Background: Under current law, Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) from nations not contiguous with the United States are required to face a deportation hearing before they are returned home to their parents.  Thousands of Central American children recently apprehended by CBP agents now face immigration courts and the prospect of being forced to live for years in foster care—away from their families, loved ones, and home nations—before being returned home.

The Expedited Family Reunification Act would amend existing statute to harmonize the way unaccompanied children are processed and allow immigration officials to coordinate with Central American governments to ensure the safe return of UACs to their families in their home countries.

Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. He is also a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
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