Texas lawmakers roll out emergency border legislation, say 'families should stay together'

Texas lawmakers roll out emergency border legislation, say 'families should stay together'

(KLTV) - Statements were released Monday afternoon by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and from Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) taking a stand against the separation of families at the Texas border.

Sen. Cruz described in detail his intended plan to ease the immigration crisis, wherein many are stating opposition to the separation of children from their parents in detention facilities:

"All Americans are rightly horrified by the images we are seeing on the news, children in tears pulled away from their mothers and fathers. This must stop. Now. We can end this crisis by passing the legislation I am introducing this week."

Cruz says he's visited the detention centers and has witnessed the children's situation there:

"Repeatedly, I have visited detention facilities tragically housing young children.  For far too long, children have been the greatest victims of our broken immigration system, with tens of thousands of children who were detained under the Obama Administration and continuing through today, and with far too many of those children facing horrific physical or sexual assault from criminal human traffickers.

He says that "catch and release" is not the way to go in dealing with the immigrant families.

"The answer is not what congressional Democrats are proposing: simply releasing illegal aliens and returning to the failed policy of 'catch and release.' Rather, we should fix the backlog in immigration cases, remove the legal barriers to swift processing, and resolve asylum cases on an expedited basis.

In the meantime, Cruz says,

"While these cases are pending, families should stay together. Children belong with their mothers and fathers. Once their cases have been adjudicated – under my legislation, in no longer than 14 days – those who meet the legal standard should be granted asylum and those who don't should be immediately returned to their home country."

"We can fix this. If my Democratic colleagues will join me, not play politics but work to solve the problem, we can start to end family separation this week. And, we can honor the rule of law."

This week, Sen. Cruz' office says he is introducing the Protect Kids and Parents Act, which will:

  • Double the number of federal immigration judges, from roughly 375 to 750.
  • Authorize new temporary shelters, with accommodations to keep families together.
  • Mandate that illegal immigrant families must be kept together, absent aggravated criminal conduct or threat of harm to the children.
  • Provide for expedited processing and review of asylum cases, so that—within 14 days—those who meet the legal standards will be granted asylum, and those who do not will be immediately returned to their home countries.

Cornyn said in his official statement, also on Monday,

'We have to keep family members together and prevent unnecessary hardship, stress, and outrage. The good news is we have it within our power to find a better way because parents who are awaiting court proceedings shouldn't have to do so separated from their children, and children shouldn't be taken from their parents and left frightened and confused about where they are and what is transpiring around them.'

He added that he'll be introducing an updated version of the HUMANE Act, originally introduced in 2014:

'In 2014, I introduced a bipartisan bill called the HUMANE Act with my colleague, Representative Henry Cuellar of Laredo, Texas. I plan to soon reintroduce an updated version of that legislation. It will include provisions that mitigate the problem of family separation while improving the immigration court process for unaccompanied children and families apprehended at the border.'

'I would ask our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to take a hard look at this bill and to work together to find a reasonable solution for this component of the crisis at our border.'

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