(Josh Denmark/CBP)

Bipartisan Legislation Aims to Reform Process for Kids, Families at Border

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) today announced the introduction of their HUMANE Act designed to help solve the ongoing humanitarian crisis at our southern border by reforming current laws dealing with unaccompanied alien children (UAC) and migrants taken into custody.

The bill would also update existing laws to ensure family unity, while streamlining processing procedures. Finally, the bill will boost the number of CBP officers and modernize ports of entry to increase the capacity for CBP to process migrants seeking asylum while also facilitating legitimate trade and travel. 

“As the number of heartbreaking stories at the border continue to grow, so do the number of apprehensions overwhelming understaffed law enforcement,” Cornyn said. “Border apprehensions typically increase during the late spring and early summer, so it’s critical we take action on this situation now by thoughtfully reforming our laws regarding unaccompanied children and migrants in custody.”

“I believe that every person should have due process and be treated humanely in immigration matters,” said Cuellar.  “I also feel that current law leads to processing inefficiencies and promotes a chaotic climate at the border. As recent stats show, DHS is overtaxed in its ability to handle the high volume of cases it is receiving. This bill allocates more resources to better position DHS to handle this influx and enhance the processing experience for individuals in DHS custody.”

The legislation requires DHS to keep families together during court proceedings and provide additional standards of care for families being held in DHS facilities. It also requires DHS to continually update their regulations to prevent and combat sexual abuse and assault in DHS facilities.

It mandates the hiring of additional DHS personnel, upgrades and modernization of our nation’s ports of entry to expedite legitimate trade and travel and improves processing of humanitarian relief claims by requiring certain applications take place at designated ports of entry, based on a recommendation of the bipartisan DHS Homeland Security Advisory Council.

The bill also would require that  the Executive Office for Immigration Review to assign at least two immigration judges to each of the Regional Processing Centers that DHS is required to establish along the southern border.

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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