Congressman Charlie Dent (PA-15), a member of the Appropriations Committee, supported legislation before the House of Representatives tonight to address the crisis on our nation’s Southern border. H.R. 5230, a supplemental appropriations bill, aims to control the surge of unaccompanied children on the Southern border. This bill would authorize the expenditure of $694 million to secure the border and provide humanitarian assistance for the short-term care of these children.
Importantly, this legislation addresses needed changes to a 2008 anti-human trafficking law that cuts current unacceptably long wait lengths before a child has a hearing before an immigration judge down to a 14 day time period. This will help speed the return of these children to their own countries and to their families.
The bill provides $22 million to accelerate these hearings. Additionally, it provides an additional $405 million to build more detention space and hire more Border Patrol agents and detention officers.
It also provides $70 million in funding for the deployment of National Guard units to the border. The Guard’s presence will allow Border Patrol personnel greater flexibility as they do their best managing the current surge.
$197 million in funding will be used by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide temporary housing and humanitarian assistance to the apprehended children.
“We must ensure children arriving at our borders are treated in a humane manner. They are children being sent on a dangerous trek to our Southern border. However, policies and resources must be in place so these children can be returned to their home countries as quickly as possible,” said Congressman Dent. “H.R. 5230 addresses specific issues that may be causing a delay in returning these children by modifying the 2008 trafficking law to ensure unaccompanied children are returned home.”
Furthermore, Dent voted for H.R. 5272 which would prevent any funding to continue programs initiated by President Obama that have absolutely incentivized efforts by parents to send their children to America illegally, particularly the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“The interpretation of President Obama’s policy is contributing to the number of people seeking to get into the country illegally,” stated Dent. “That policy has to be changed,” he said.
Congressman Dent was pleased that the House was finally able to advance border legislation: “Nearly 60,000 children are wrapped up in this crisis. The Senate should return to Washington to take up this legislation. It’s time for the Senate to act – now – to address this border and humanitarian crisis,” said Dent.
H.R. 5230 passed 223 to 189. H.R. 5272 passed 216 to 192.
Further information regarding H.R. 5230:
$405 million for the Department of Homeland Security to boost border security and law enforcement activities.
$22 million to accelerate judicial proceedings for immigrants.
$70 million for National Guard border efforts: $35 million for the federal deployment of the Guard and $35 million for reimbursing states for their use of the Guard on the Southern Border.
$197 million for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide temporary housing and humanitarian assistance to unaccompanied minors.
$40 million in repatriation assistance to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. This funding is redirected from within existing foreign aid for Central American countries so that these repatriation activities are immediately prioritized.
CONTACT: Shawn Millan (610) 770-3490