Here Are the House’s Recommendations for the Border Crisis

The House and Senate are now on a collision course.

NOGALES, AZ - JUNE 18: Boys wait in line to make a phone call as they are joined by hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children that are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center on June 18, 2014, in Nogales, Arizona. Brownsville, Texas, and Nogales, have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1. (Photo by Ross D. Franklin-Pool/Getty Images)
National Journal
Billy House Rachel Roubein
July 17, 2014, 7:49 a.m.

A spe­cial House “work­ing group” led by Rep. Kay Granger has fi­nal­ized a draft of its “set of prin­ciples” for GOP le­gis­la­tion deal­ing with the bor­der crisis — in­clud­ing a call for put­ting an end to the “catch-and-re­lease” sys­tem for un­ac­com­pan­ied minors.

Sev­er­al of the pro­pos­als clash dra­mat­ic­ally with what House and Sen­ate Demo­crats say they will go along with.

And the two cham­bers also ap­pear to be on a col­li­sion course for how much fund­ing an emer­gency bill will con­tain. Sen­ate Demo­crats say they will go along with Pres­id­ent Obama’s re­quest for $3.7 bil­lion, but House Re­pub­lic­ans are look­ing at less than half of that amount.

Mem­bers of the House work­ing group, in­clud­ing Reps. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., and Matt Sal­mon, R-Ar­iz., said a com­pleted pack­age of re­com­mend­a­tions by Granger’s staffers was de­livered to each of their of­fices on Thursday morn­ing for a fi­nal sign-off.

At least some of the work­ing group’s re­com­mend­a­tions are likely to be­come part of the House Re­pub­lic­an al­tern­at­ive to Obama’s pro­pos­al. While there could be some last-minute changes, one of the re­com­mend­a­tions will be that chil­dren should be de­tained un­til they see an im­mig­ra­tion judge.

The guidelines will re­com­mend this should hap­pen with­in five to sev­en days.

“This is a ma­jor, ma­jor change,” said Sal­mon. “There will not be those bus­loads of kids com­ing in to the vari­ous com­munit­ies; there will not be the fam­ily units dropped off at the bus sta­tion in Phoenix and Tuc­son, like they have been be­fore. They will stay de­tained un­til they’re ad­ju­dic­ated.”

Sal­mon did not spe­cify the num­ber of ad­di­tion­al judges the guidelines will call for to make this pro­cess work.

Oth­er re­com­mend­a­tions in­clude:

  • Chan­ging a 2008 law to al­low al­low im­mig­rant chil­dren at the bor­der to be vol­un­tar­ily and more swiftly re­turned to their home coun­tries rather than be held for de­port­a­tion hear­ings. Many Sen­ate and House Demo­crats, in­clud­ing the Con­gres­sion­al His­pan­ic Caucus, have already said they would op­pose this;
  • Provid­ing more Na­tion­al Guard in­volve­ment in hu­man­it­ari­an re­lief ef­forts, such as help in provid­ing shel­ter, food, and health care;
  • “Chan­ging the nar­rat­ive” by pro­mot­ing — per­haps through ad­vert­ise­ments in Cent­ral Amer­ica — the no­tion that the U.S. will send im­mig­rants back home if they do not ar­rive leg­ally.

House ap­pro­pri­at­ors, led by com­mit­tee Chair­man Har­old Rodgers, R-Ky., are also near com­ple­tion of the fund­ing part of their plan, and have already said their dol­lar fig­ure won’t come any­where near the $3.7 bil­lion called for by Obama.

On Thursday, Sal­mon said he wasn’t com­fort­able with provid­ing the ex­act dol­lar amount — but said it will be “less than half” of what Obama pro­posed.

That would set up one of an ex­pec­ted sev­er­al dif­fer­ences for House Re­pub­lic­ans with the Demo­crat­ic-led Sen­ate. There, Ap­pro­pri­ations Com­mit­tee Chair­wo­man Bar­bara Mikul­ski said on the Sen­ate floor on Wed­nes­day that she is ask­ing for the full $3.7 bil­lion to be ap­proved.

“There are those who will want to take from oth­er do­mest­ic pro­grams. I would cau­tion that, and, in fact, I ob­ject to the very idea of that,” she said.

“The pres­id­ent has said this is an emer­gency — an emer­gency un­der the Budget Con­trol Act of 2011. It meets the cri­ter­ia that it is ‘sud­den, ur­gent, un­fore­seen and tem­por­ary’ and deals with the ‘loss of life or prop­erty’ or ‘threat to na­tion­al se­cur­ity.’ I think it meets that test.”

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 5103) }}

What We're Following See More »
Airbag Recalls Target 12 Million Automobiles
2 hours ago

"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identified on Friday the makes and models of 12 million cars and motorcycles that have been recalled because of defective air bag inflators made by Japanese supplier Takata. The action includes 4.3 million Chryslers; 4.5 million Hondas; 1.6 million Toyotas; 731,000 Mazdas; 402,000 Nissans; 383,000 Subarus; 38,000 Mitsubishis; and 2,800 Ferraris. ... Analysts have said it could take years for all of the air bags to be replaced. Some have questioned whether Takata can survive the latest blow."

Secret Service Disciplines 41 Agents Over Chaffetz Leak
2 hours ago

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says 41 Secret Service agents have been disciplined in the fallout of an investigation over the agency's leak of personnel files. The leaker, who has resigned, released records showing that Oversight and Government Reform Chair Jason Chaffetz—who was leading an investigation of Secret Service security lapses—had applied for a job at the agency years before. The punishments include reprimands and suspension without pay. "Like many others I was appalled by the episode reflected in the Inspector General’s report, which brought real discredit to the Secret Service," said Johnson.

Romney Talks Cost of His Futile Anti-Trump Fight
4 hours ago

Mitt Romney spoke in an interview with the Wall Street Journal about his decision to challenge Donald Trump. “Friends warned me, ‘Don’t speak out, stay out of the fray,’ because criticizing Mr. Trump will only help him by giving him someone else to attack. They were right. I became his next target, and the incoming attacks have been constant and brutal.” Still, "I wanted my grandkids to see that I simply couldn’t ignore what Mr. Trump was saying and doing, which revealed a character and temperament unfit for the leader of the free world.”

Puerto Rico Relief Stalled on the Hill
4 hours ago

"A bill to help Puerto Rico handle its $70 billion debt crisis is facing an uncertain future in the Senate. No Senate Democrats have endorsed a bill backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, while some are actively fighting it. ... On the Republican side, senators say they’re hopeful to pass a bill but don’t know if they can support the current legislation — which is expected to win House approval given its backing from leaders in that chamber."

Congress Slow-walking Zika Legislation
5 hours ago

"Congress abandoned the Capitol Thursday for an almost two-week break without addressing how to combat Zika, even as public health officials issue dire warnings about the spread of the mosquito-driven virus with summer approaching. ... Instead of racing to fund efforts to thwart a potential health crisis, lawmakers are treating the Zika debate like regular legislation, approving Thursday the establishment of a House-Senate committee to hammer out differences in their competing bills."