Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, today said that unless Congress takes action, the humanitarian crisis on the southern border of the United States will not improve.
"This situation is only going to grow worse with time and as the weather cools along our southern border," said Coats. "Congress needs to address the policies that created this situation, which will send a message to the drug smugglers and coyotes who are spreading false hope to the families sending their children to the United States. The best way to stop this humanitarian crisis is to reunite children who have come to America with their families in their home countries. President Obama and his administration must fully enforce our immigration laws."
Coats said that legislation passed by the House of Representatives on Friday takes the right approach to addressing the problem.
"The House-passed bill would help stem the tide of children making the difficult journey to the United States," said Coats. "Rather than reject the House effort, I urge Senator Reid to allow it to be debated in the Senate."
Coats also is supporting the Protecting Children and America's Homeland Act, a proposal introduced by Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Similar to the House-passed bill, the proposal would make several changes to current immigration law to allow quicker repatriation of unaccompanied alien children while ensuring due process for asylum claims. The bill also would prevent the president from any expansion of the deferred action program and provide funding for border security, law enforcement and humanitarian assistance activities. The cost of the legislation would be fully offset.
"Our legislation is a reasonable approach that will address this problem more effectively than the Obama Administration's proposal to throw more money at the problem," said Coats.
More than 60,000 unaccompanied alien children -- mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador -- have been apprehended on America's southern border during this fiscal year. Another 60,000 family members -- one or both parents traveling with their children -- have been apprehended during the same time period.