Salmon Statement on House Border Crisis Group Recommendations

Jul 23, 2014
Press Release

Washington, D.C.— Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) today released the following statement at the completion of the Border Crisis Working Group’s assessment of the humanitarian situation at our southern border and the release of their recommendations to Congress:

“Since I first learned of the crisis on our southern border, I've been working day and night to find solutions that can safely and quickly return these children to their families in their home countries, sending a clear message, through our actions, that our immigration laws will be enforced and there is no policy of blanket amnesty or de facto citizenship.

“The tried-and-true Washington method of problem solving won’t work here; we simply can’t write the president a check for billions of dollars and expect that our borders will be more secure and these children will be safely returned to their families. What we need is decisive action and innovative solutions that are both compassionate and strong. I believe the Working Group’s recommendations released today accomplish these objectives.

“My proposal to correct the 2008 law that prevents children from Central America being treated the same as those from Mexico and Canada and allows them to be quickly repatriated has become a key component of our recommendations.  With the release of the Working Group's recommendations, the House is proposing a number of new solutions that will quickly and effectively stem the tide of illegal immigration, secure our border, and provide a humanitarian response to this difficult situation.

“The House will now take up these recommendations so that we can quickly send them to the Senate for a vote and to the President for implementation. I expect that whatever proposal we pass will remain fiscally responsible and not add to our deficit.

“What we need now is quick, bipartisan action on the part of the Senate and the President.  Let's get these solutions deployed and secure our border.”

 

Recommendations and Solutions

  • Deploy the National Guard to the Southern border to assist Border Patrol in the humanitarian care and needs of the unaccompanied minors. This will free up the Border Patrol to focus on their primary mission.

  • Prohibit the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) from denying or restricting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) activities on federal land under their respective jurisdictions.

  • Require a DHS strategy and implementation plan to gain operational control of the Southwest border. 

  • Establish independent third party commission to develop border security metrics as a means to accurately gauge progress on border security.

  • Establish border security in Central American countries and Mexico.

  • Establish repatriation centers in originating countries in order to facilitate the return of family units and unaccompanied minors. 

  • Deploy aggressive messaging campaigns in originating countries and the U.S. to dispel immigration myths, clarify that individuals will be deported on arrival and advise on the dangers and legal penalties of traveling through Mexico to enter the United States illegally. 

  • Mandate the detention of all Family Units apprehended at the border with the ultimate goal of processing family units 5-7 days. Congress must continue stringent oversight to ensure this mandate is being met.

  • Amend the Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act of 2008 so all unaccompanied minors are treated the same as Mexicans and Canadians for the purpose of removals. This would require unaccompanied children who do not wish to be voluntarily returned to their home country to remain in HHS custody while they await an expedited immigration court hearing that must occur not more than 7 days after they are screened by child welfare officials. 

  • Deploy additional judge teams and temporary judges to expedite the hearing of asylum and credible fear claims. Congress must address the occurrences of fraud in our asylum system. Baseless claims crowd the immigration court system and delay processing for those with legitimate claims. The standard under current law that allows an alien to show a "credible fear of persecution" needs to be examined and addressed to ensure a fraud-free system moving forward.  In addition, criminal aliens and criminal gang members should not receive asylum.

  • Establish tough penalties for those engaged in human smuggling, including the smuggling of unaccompanied minors by strengthening penalties for human smugglers and those who assist them.

  • Increase law enforcement operations domestically and in originating countries to disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations and encourage originating countries to pass strict laws against human smuggling.

The House Border Crisis Working Group was convened by Speaker John Boehner on June 24, 2014 and was led by Rep. Kay Granger (TX-12).  The group included Rep. John Carter (TX-31), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA-06), Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10), Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-02).

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