New York, NY- For the past several weeks, lawmakers in Washington have been trying to figure out to deal with the over 50,000 immigrant children who have been flooding into the U.S. But the Republican bill failed to gain the traction necessary to pass so they decided to drop the bill.
Speaker Boehner introduced the bill which included beefing up border security, amending the 2008 law that allows these young immigrants to seek asylum and $659 in funding. However, the bill was scrapped before it even went to the floor of the House today.
Initially, the House was scheduled to vote on two separate bills, the one addressing the border crisis and another one, introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), which would have prevented President Obama from expanding DACA, according to the Huffington Post. Conservatives in the House hoped that border crisis bill would pass and they would then vote on Rep. Blackburn’s bill, but it became clear there was less support for either proposal than they first thought. Many House Republicans sided with Democrats and opposed Speaker Boehner’s border crisis proposal.
In a surprising statement, House Republicans suggested that President Obama could take action without Congress to secure the border and deport immigrant children. It’s surprising since Conservatives’ repeatedly criticize the president for using his executive powers.
So, Congress will be leaving Washington D.C. Friday for a five week recess without having done anything about the border crisis. Perhaps, the House should have spent the past few weeks working on the border crisis instead or pouring all of their energy into suing the president.
Some action is being done though. Amid criticism that the immigration court backlog is allowing undocumented immigrants to live in the U.S. for years while they wait for their court appearances, immigration courts are moving to give speedier trials to some minor immigrants.
With a 375,000 case backlog, it can take years from immigrants to be scheduled for a court appearance and minor immigrants would typically fall into to the back of the line. Now, some immigrant children will be scheduled to appear in immigration court within three weeks instead of waiting for months or even years before a judge hears their asylum claims, according to CBS News.
There is concern though that speeding up immigration court appearances could leave these minor immigrants at a disadvantage. Immigration attorneys say that speeding up appearances makes it difficult for them to obtain legal counsel and make the case they should be allowed asylum and allowed to stay in the U.S.
There is also concern that immigrant children might not receive their notices to appear in time for them to make their trial date. Failing to appear in immigration court will call for their immediate deportation. There are also not enough pro bono immigration attorneys to represent all of the children.
The new court system began this week in Los Angeles and will roll-out to additional courts.