EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) Texas Senator John Cornyn introduced a bipartisan bill, the ‘Human Act’ designed to help solve what he calls the “ongoing humanitarian crisis.”
The bill, introduced in May 2019 proposes to update current laws to ensure family unity of migrants taken into custody, rather than separating them, something Democrats are pushing for. However, critics reviewing this proposal say it won’t help.
“At least Senator Cornyn is recognizing we do have a humanitarian crisis on the border,” a local immigration attorney, Ilian Holguin, said.
Cornyn said his bill would reform current laws dealing with unaccompanied migrant children, but Holguin is not so sure.
“Unfortunately none of the things he’s proposing really provides solutions to what we’re facing,” Holguin said.
According to Cornyn, the Humane Act would permit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to keep migrant families together throughout their immigration proceedings, which could take years.
“Also it seems the goal is to detain migrant families, many more migrant families which of course we do not believe is a good solution,” Holguin said.
Cornyn said his bill comes at the heels of the growing number of apprehensions and understaffed enforcement. The senator proposes the bill would prioritize family claims in the courts.
“We don’t want to get to a point where we’re trying to speed up the process so quickly so that we’re not giving people their day in court and that’s what this bill seems to try to do,” Holguin said.
Holguin, also the chair of the El Paso County Democratic Party, said the surge if unaccompanied migrant children is nothing new.
According to an Op-ed in The Monitor, a newspaper in McAllen, Texas, Cornyn said the Humane Act is a “border solution.”
Cornyn said this jumps off of former President Barack Obama’s speech in 2014 on the months of record-breaking numbers of unaccompanied children crossing the border.
Holguin said the difference from 2014 to now is the treatment of the unaccompanied migrant children in custody.
“We’ve been able to deal with the situation in a much much more humane matter than we are right now, it seems that this administration, they only answer to this issue that we’re seeing of increased migrant families and children presenting themselves to the border,” Holguin said.
Last month, the U.S. Senate passed the border supplemental appropriations bill. Introduced by Senator Cornyn, the $30 million funding plan aims to reimburse local governments for migrant expenses.
“I would be in favor of hiring more asylum officers to help screen the claims also more immigration judges so the cases could move through the system more quickly than they are now,” Holguin said.