July 22, 2014
Dear Mr. Porter,
Thank you for contacting me about the influx of children at the U.S.-Mexico border. I appreciate the time you took to write to me about this critical issue.
Over 50,000 unaccompanied children have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border in the last year, double the total of the previous year. Most of these children are fleeing gang violence in the Central American countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, and they are as young as four and five years old.
Under the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act which passed Congress unanimously in 2008 and was signed into law by President George W. Bush, unaccompanied children from countries that do not border the U.S. that are detained at the border cannot be immediately deported. They must go throughformal deportation proceedings before an immigration judge. The law also requires unaccompanied children to be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) within 72 hours of apprehension to be properly housed in shelters or with relatives while they await their hearing.
It's important to note that this mass migration is being caused by violence in the home countries of the children, and not by any recent changes to U.S. immigration policies. Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are in the top five countriesin the world for murder rates and they've been plagued by rampant gang violence in recent years. The arriving children are not eligible for the Administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, although some of them may have legitimate claims under longstanding asylum rules. For decades, U.S. immigration policy has reflected the principle that our country will not return an immigrant to a country where his or her life is threatened.
On July 8th President Obama requested $3.7 billion in supplemental funding from Congress to respond to this crisis. Of these funds, half will go to HHS to ensure that the children have appropriate housing and care while they await their deportation hearing. The request also contains $400 million for the Border Patrol to process the children and to maintain border security. Importantly, the President's request also includes funding to address the root cause of the migration by helping Central American countries to reduce violence. In total, this funding is critical to addressing this urgent humanitarian crisis and I think Congress should grant the request of the President.
Ultimately, we have to reform our broken immigration system. Doing so will create jobs, grow our economy, reduce the deficit, improve border security, and enforce immigration laws in the interior of our country.
Thank you again for writing to me, and if you have any other questions or comments, let me hear from you. I value what my constituents say to me, and I always need your thoughts and benefit from your ideas.
To stay in touch, please visit my website: eshoo.house.gov, connect with me on Twitter: @RepAnnaEshoo and on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RepAnnaEshoo.
Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress
Let it be known that I have no quarrel with the children who enter the United States as refugees. In fact, I would be in favor of forming a more expedited way of admitting them into the country as naturalized citizens, legally, and placing them with adoptive or foster families to help them grow and recover from whatever trauma they experienced in their native land.
However, These kids, 50,000 in number (according to Ms. Eshoo), are only a small fraction of the amount of illegal immigrants streaming over our southern border. If they aren't children, they should be deported. Bottom line, we need to enforce our existing laws.
If we can't enforce our national borders, how do we justify calling ourselves a sovereign state? This is ridiculous!
I call upon all those who have sworn an oath to our people and our Constitution to uphold and enforce the law, and to deport all those who illegally enter our country, instead of reward them with pats on the back and government subsidies. It's time to show people that there are consequences for illegally trespassing on American soil!
EDIT: Upon further reflection on Ms. Eshoo's words, I feel it would be wise to point out how utterly ludicrous it is to suggest that 50,000 refugee children are going to benefit our economy and "create jobs". All they'll do until they grow up is put even more strain on our deficit.