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house Bill H.R. 1149

Should the Deportation Process be the Same for all Unaccompanied Immigrant Children?

Argument in favor

It doesn't make sense to have two different processes for unaccompanied minors coming from border countries and any other place in the world. By not deporting them as soon as we find them, we'll only encourage more and more unaccompanied children to make the long and dangerous trek into the U.S.

Veterans's Opinion
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03/27/2015
We must secure our borders, protect OUR COUNTRY, Secure AMERICAN JOBS for our children and other Americans ! Big U.S. Businesses have and are constantly opening factories and stores in other countries, these are opportunities for immigrants !
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03/27/2015
Children arriving here without adult guardians is the same as human trafficking. It has got to stop and make their parents or guardians responsible for their plight. Give'em due process, of course, but make it quick.
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Roland s's Opinion
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04/01/2015
We can't support unlimited numbers of "unaccompanied children". They are used by their parents as a back door way to get into the US. As porous as our borders are and as weak and inept as our enforcement is, we do need to control things somehow.
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Argument opposed

14 days is not enough time to determine if an unaccompanied immigrant child has "legitimate" reason to fear for their safety if they’re forced to return to their country of origin. We don’t subject adults who appear at our border with humanitarian claims to such rushed investigation, why would we put children through that?

Art's Opinion
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03/31/2015
Young children need to be safe and taken care of and put in the care of a responsible adult before being sent back.
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Mensah's Opinion
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03/28/2015
The US would have failed its own ideals. We are a safe haven for refugees who made it here.
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Charity4hope's Opinion
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03/28/2015
We should take care of all children illegal or otherwise. They are precious gifts.
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What is House Bill H.R. 1149?

This bill would eliminate the special repatriation requirements for unaccompanied immigrant children who entered the U.S. illegally and are from a country that shares borders with the U.S. (like Canada or Mexico). 


The Secretary of State would be authorized to negotiate agreements related to the repatriation of unaccompanied immigrant children with countries that do not share a border with the U.S. as this bill brings all unaccompanied immigrant children under the same process regardless of their country of origin. Under current law the Secretary is only able to negotiate these agreements with countries bordering the U.S.


Any unaccompanied immigrant child who is not a victim of a severe form of human trafficking and does not have a reasonable fear of returning to his or her country, but who is:

  • In ongoing removal proceedings will have a hearing before an immigration judge within 14 days.

  • In federal custody will be transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) custody within 30 days.

  • In HHS or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) custody will have access to legal counsel at no cost to the government.


A previous exception allowing unaccompanied immigrant children who could not reunite with one of their parents to stay in the country legally would be changed so that only those children who can’t reunite with either parent would be allowed to stay.

Impact

Unaccompanied immigrant children who are in the U.S. illegally, immigration agencies within DHS, HHS, federal judges, the Secretary of State. Unaccompanied alien children, U.S. families wishing to foster these children.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1149

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth:

This legislation would not change the process for unaccompanied immigrant children who were victims of human trafficking, or fear persecution if they were to return to their country of origin.


Immigration officers are now required to return unaccompanied immigrant children to their country of origin or last habitual residence. This authority had previously been discretionary.


Before placing a child with an individual, HHS would be required to give DHS the individual’s name, Social Security number, date of birth, residence location, and immigration status (if known). DHS would be required to investigate the immigration status of the individual with whom the child is placed, and if they are in the U.S. illegally removal proceedings would be initiated. These requirements would apply to any unauthorized child apprehended on or after June 15, 2012.


Of Note:

During the 2014 fiscal year there were 68,434 unaccompanied children who entered the U.S. illegally. As of late 2014, over 43,000 of those children were placed with sponsors, usually relatives, where they would remain until their cases are processed. Most of these children come from conflict-ridden areas of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Children from Mexico also make up a considerable percentage of the group. The flood of people — a 945 percent increase from 2011 — caught the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) off guard, forcing the construction of three temporary shelters in California, Oklahoma and Texas military bases.


In opposition to this bill, the U.S. Presbyterian Church’s Reverend Gradye Parsons wrote to Congress saying:

“United States immigration law does not require adults who appear at our border with humanitarian claims to prepare a hearing within fourteen days. We do not have a mandate to hold them in custody while they await their hearing. Why, then, would we require children, who have been traumatized, who may not understand English or be able to read in any language, to be held to a more onerous process? Children deserve special consideration and protection — not less consideration and protection.”

On the other hand, Sponsoring Rep. John Carter (R-TX) believes his bill will protect this vulnerable population of children from human traffickers: 
“For far too long drug smugglers have continually used loopholes in our nation’s immigration law to make billions, all while preying upon the weakest in our society... Tens of thousands of juveniles marched across the border and into our cities, all at the taxpayer’s expense. The great state of Texas has felt this burden, probably more than any other state. This Administration needs to stop ignoring the obvious problem, burdening the American public and putting innocent lives at risk.”   

Media:

Sponsoring Rep. John Carter (R-TX) Press Release

Numbers USA

Presbyterian Church USA (Opposed)

Washington Post (Context)


Summary by Eric RevellTéa Jiang

(Photo Credit: Flickr user desertdutchman

AKA

Protection of Children Act of 2015

Official Title

To amend the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 to provide for the expedited removal of unaccompanied alien children who are not victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons and who do not have a fear of returning to their country of nationality or last habitual residence, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Immigration and Citizenship
    IntroducedFebruary 27th, 2015
    We must secure our borders, protect OUR COUNTRY, Secure AMERICAN JOBS for our children and other Americans ! Big U.S. Businesses have and are constantly opening factories and stores in other countries, these are opportunities for immigrants !
    Like (17)
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    Share
    Young children need to be safe and taken care of and put in the care of a responsible adult before being sent back.
    Like (21)
    Follow
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    Children arriving here without adult guardians is the same as human trafficking. It has got to stop and make their parents or guardians responsible for their plight. Give'em due process, of course, but make it quick.
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    We can't support unlimited numbers of "unaccompanied children". They are used by their parents as a back door way to get into the US. As porous as our borders are and as weak and inept as our enforcement is, we do need to control things somehow.
    Like (8)
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    The US would have failed its own ideals. We are a safe haven for refugees who made it here.
    Like (8)
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    Yes, simply to be fair to all.
    Like (6)
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    we have a very large problem with our own homeless FAMILIES in this country and we are treating illeagles better then we are treating our own,WAKE-UP Washington,Time to take care of our own depressed people first.
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    It is past time to put an end to this abuse of our kindness.
    Like (5)
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    This bill calls for equal treatment of all unaccompanied children, regardless of which country they are fleeing from. That's not the issue that needs to be debated here; it's the whole process for children and adults alike.
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    Child safety should trump immigration opinion. Sending a child to a near certain harm is a human rights violation
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    Children belong with their families and coming in here illegally is still wrong. Even if they are being sent in. No charges should be held against them for the very fact they are children but they need to go back to their family and country of origin.
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    Treat everyone the same. Doing otherwise creates loopholes that are obviously already being exploited.
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    UAM Placements Approach 2014 Crisis Levels According to recently released Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) data, the Obama administration placed 4,097 unaccompanied alien minors (UAMs) with adult sponsors in the United States during the month of May, having already eclipsed the total for the entire previous fiscal year. (See HHS Unaccompanied Children Statistics; MRC TV, May 31, 2016) The 33,347 UAMs released into the country since the current fiscal year began is also on track to top FY 2014 record levels, which saw an unprecedented 53,515 UAMs placed with sponsors. (Id.) http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/programs/ucs/state-by-state-uc-placed-sponsors http://www.mrctv.org/blog/admin-releases-more-illegal-alien-kids-last-6-mos-entire-fy2015 Once UAMs are apprehended at the border, they are screened, processed, and detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). (See FAIR UAC Fact Sheet) http://www.fairus.org/DocServer/activism/UAC_Fact_Sheet_9-2014_FAIR.pdf Within 72 hours, they must be turned over to HHS and placed into a temporary immigration shelter. From there, HHS attempts to place the UAM with an adult sponsor — who is likely in the country unlawfully — to care for them temporarily, pending the resolution of their case in immigration court. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Apr. 26, 2016) http://www.fairus.org/legislative-updates/legislative-update-4-26-2016#1 Federal law requires HHS to ensure that UAMs are protected from trafficking and other forms of abuse. However, a Senate investigation revealed that HHS's policies and procedures are inadequate to protect the UAMs that are in the agency's care, as a number of UAMs were placed in the hands of human traffickers who forced them into slave labor conditions. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Feb. 2, 2016; Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Staff Report, Jan. 28, 2016) http://www.fairus.org/legislative-updates/legislative-update-2-2-2016#2 http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/download/majority-and-minority-staff-report_-protecting-unaccompanied-alien-children-from-trafficking-and-other-abuses-the-role-of-the-office-of-refugee-resettlement Additionally, the investigation found that many UAMs fail to appear in immigration court and effectively disappear into the country, as HHS cedes all power and responsibility over the UAM once they are transferred to the care of a sponsor. Fortunately, true immigration reformer Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) have introduced legislation to address the placement of UAMs with adult sponsors. S. 2561, the Protection of Children Act of 2016, requires HHS to collect background information to prevent the release of UAMs to illegal aliens already in the country. (See FAIR Summary of S. 2561) https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/s2561/BILLS-114s2561is.pdf http://www.fairus.org/DocServer/GR/Summary_of_S_2561_Feb-2016.pdf The bill also closes a loophole in the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008 that prevents Central American UAMs from being promptly returned to their home countries. This loophole, combined with President Obama's refusal to enforce our immigration laws, continues to exacerbate the UAM surge that began in 2014. The Sessions-Johnson bill is the companion to the House version, H.R. 1149, which was authored by Rep. John Carter (R-TX) and passed out of the House Judiciary Committee last year. (See FAIR Summary of H.R. 1149; House Judiciary Markup of H.R. 1149) http://www.fairus.org/DocServer/GR/Summary_of_HR_%201149_Feb-2016.pdf http://judiciary.house.gov/index.cfm/hearings?ContentRecord_id=22BC1D93-53AF-4E6C-BD71-ABE13F93053E FAIR supports H.R. 1149 and S. 2561.
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    We should take care of all children illegal or otherwise. They are precious gifts.
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    The other option is flatly inhumane and not in line with the fundamental principles of our country.
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    This is embarrassing that America is a place where we'd send children packing when they've struggled and risked their lives to arrive in the U.S. Shame on us.
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    Yes we can not help everyone
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    Here illegally is the same if you are 25 or 5. Deport all their freeloading asses.
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    Actually deport
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    Illegal is illegal.
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