Senate GOP confident Congress will pass bipartisan border remedy
July 15th, 2014
02:13 PM ET
1 month ago

Senate GOP confident Congress will pass bipartisan border remedy

Updated 8:09 p.m. ET, 7/15/2014

(CNN) - Senate Republicans expressed growing confidence Tuesday that Congress will approve bipartisan legislation aimed at resolving a what's being called a "humanitarian crisis" resulting from the surge of child immigrants from Central America at the southern border.

"It is actually possible to come behind a bipartisan agreement to deal with a big problem," an upbeat Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said about the proposal this week by Republican Sen. John Cornyn and Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar, both of Texas.

Supporters say their plan would lead to the quick return of most young illegal migrants. That would come from eliminating part of a 2008 law that requires a hearing for all unaccompanied minors not from Mexico or Canada before they can be deported.

That time consuming hearing process is seen by many as a root problem of the current backlog at the border where tens of thousands of young illegal immigrants have crossed into the United States this year in a surge the Obama administration said was unexpected.

Congressional Republicans, however, have made clear they will not consider a pending $3.7 billion funding request from President Barack Obama to deal with the border crisis unless it includes policy changes that will deter similar immigration in the future.

"What our legislation would do is fill in the gap left by the President's request for more money," Cornyn said. "He's asked for $3.7 billion but not anything that would fix or solve the problem. We supply that."

The proposal includes expedited hearings for just some migrants. That concerns several senior Democrats who are influential on immigration issues and want to ensure all the children who come to the United States get due process under the law.

"You can't in 72 hours go ahead and make the case that your father got murdered in front of you. You can't make the case that the gang said join us or die if you don't have the time to produce documents, affidavits, certificates and what not. And so it is unacceptable to me to basically have a deal that undermines all those rights," said Sen. Robert Menendez, R-New Jersey who called the proposal "not humane."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he personally opposes the proposal.

He argued the law does not need to be changed to deal with influx of children and said the extra money the White House wants will resolve the crisis.

However, he didn't rule out bringing some legislation to the floor that would modify the Bush-era law in question.

Divided Democrats

Privately, Democrats acknowledged their caucus is divided. About half want to maintain existing legal rights and the other half is anxious to drop the fight and quickly approve the funding.

Senate GOP aides said they anticipated the Cornyn/Cuellar bill and separate legislation addressing related emergency spending would be taken up by the House late next week.

The Senate would then have to decide how to deal with the politically-sensitive measures just days before a five-week recess.

"They will fold like a cheap suit eventually," quipped Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican. "Because the public is with us."

House ideas

House Republicans have some of their own ideas that would be cheaper than Obama's request.

Texas GOP Rep. Kay Granger and other members of a working group set up by Speaker John Boehner outlined a set of policy changes at a meeting with Republican rank and file on Tuesday.

The working group wants to deploy the National Guard to the border. It also suggests bringing on retired judges to expand the now overloaded legal system and accelerate the process to return children to their home countries. It also proposes to add new enforcement powers for border agencies.

Arizona GOP Rep Matt Salmon, a member of the working group that visited Honduras and Guatemala over the weekend, said there's no common ground with the White House.

"The priorities that we're talking about – repatriating those children as quickly as possible – and where the President's is at – right now we're on different planets," Salmon said.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers said last week the administration wants "too much money" and noted that some of the funding to address the border situation is already included in annual spending bills, including the homeland security spending bill the House passed last month.


Filed under: Congress
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. a concerned citizen

    I'm sure there's money for contractors in there somewhere. The gop acts budget conscious, but no problem spending big on repeal of the aca, or endless investigations to no where, they make me sick.

    July 15, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. Bo

    I hope that they can get that done and voted on prior to November so we can see who does and doesn't want to fix the problems with the 2008 law.

    July 15, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. CALIFORNIA

    As Reid and Obama have said in the past. It's already dead in the water. Pass ours or well blame it all on you as we usually do.

    July 15, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    Republicans never complain about the price tag of a tax cut or tax break for big business. How can they turn around and put a price tag on the lives of innocent children and consider themselves a party of family values?

    July 15, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. #obuffoonisloose

    Giving nearly $4 BILLION to Obama so he can keep these illegals here is insane. I'm glad they are putting together a REAL SOLUTION to the problem, a problem of Obama's own making. Now that idiot can do his part and start enforcing ALL of our immigration laws and deporting ALL illegals caught in this country. No more amnesties for kids which he did illegally and for politcal reasons and which helped create this nightmare.

    July 15, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. O'drama ya Mama

    Well good. If it ends up being cheaper and effective then put it in place. Unfortunately I suspect this will spark political grandstanding from the right as if they somehow defeated the President.

    July 15, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    Obama's money request was mostly PORK.........of course the GOP proposal is cheaper.

    July 15, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. Gurgyl

    -by bringing all here? Nonsense idiots. Freeze immigration for thirty years. No new green cards.

    July 15, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. luke, AZ

    Republicans, a day late and a dollar short.

    July 15, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. Tom

    Right. Another GOP "plan" where the details are a secret. Any time a politician refuses to articulate the details of a plan it's usually because the details will be unpopular.

    July 15, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  11. Malory Archer

    So the weeper of the house makes a grand announcement, yet fails to provide any particulars and CNN runs with the headline: House GOP border plan in works cheaper than Obama’s. I'm thinking CNN is going to have egg on its face at the end of the week.

    July 15, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Silence DoGood

    $3.7 B was 5 days of the W Iraq War. So the GOP one will be, what, 4.5 days? Let's just move ahead on it. New direction for the GOP but they'll get over it.

    July 15, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. rs

    Typical GOP-"We have a cheaper plan"- but no details.
    Once again the truth is- they got nothin'.

    July 15, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  14. Bo

    I can't wait to see what the Senate puts together. It will be stuffed with pork and some kind of trick as usual. Democrats don't seem too interested in immigration reform now – go figure.

    July 15, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    The working group also proposes to deploy the National Guard to the border. It also suggests bringing on retired judges to expand the now overloaded legal system and accelerate the process to return children to their home countries. It also wants to add new enforcement powers for border agencies.
    -------------------------
    Finally, legislation to deploy units like the Texas National Guard to the border, something which Texas Gov. Perry could have done at any time that he wanted to. The POTUS would need an act of Congress to do it and Republicans know it, but they hammered him on it, anyway. It made for really great sounding, but extremely misleading, sound bites.

    July 15, 2014 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. rs

    Rick McDaniel

    Obama's money request was mostly PORK.........of course the GOP proposal is cheaper.
    _________________
    You need to read the story. This is like the GOP's famous 20 page budget a few years back. No details, no bottom line. Just lazy Republican work.

    July 15, 2014 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  17. Gurgyl

    -I am sick and tired of this foreign invasion, coming on even religion visas, L-1 visas, why? Stop this H-1B, J-1 B1 etc visas. At one hand we have un-employment problem rampant in USA–the other hand these foreigner invasion, raping our SS, Medicare–send all these home, come to Cary, North Carolina, go to NJ, DC LA, NY etc, send all these third world guys home. God bless you, USA.

    July 15, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. #obumbles.illegal.immigrant.disaster

    I'm sure Obama would just love to have $100 BILLION so he could bring millions of these illegals here. Open borders is what he and the Democrats support. They don't want to deport anybody. Are you feeling that "fundamental transformation" yet people?!!

    July 15, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. Thomas

    If Ted Cruz was president this wouldn't be happening in America !

    America would no longer be !

    July 15, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    I suppose this plan is like everything else they have bothered to write down: on a single sheet of paper. Let's just hope they actually came up with a serious proposal this time, instead of the usual jokes they inflict on the public.

    July 15, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Malory Archer

    So the weeper of the house makes a grand announcement, yet fails to provide any particulars and CNN runs with the headline: House GOP border plan in works cheaper than Obama’s. I'm thinking CNN is going to have egg on its face at the end of the week.
    ------------------------
    It might mean that he hasn't run it pass the raucous caucus as of yet. It could also mean that they may have already rejected the idea, and that Boehner is merely stalling for time to find a way to blame Democrats for his own failure to move legislation through the House.

    i hate to sound cynical, but I have zero confidence in the ability of John Boehner to produce just one piece of the right wing's "piecemeal approach" to immigration reform. Just one. Where's the PIECE?

    July 15, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  22. S.B. Stein

    Something needs to get done. I hope that there can be some minimum agreement between the House, Senate and White House.

    July 15, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  23. Gurgyl

    -I am sick and tired of this foreign invasion, coming on even religion visas, L-1 visas, why? Stop this H-1B, J-1 B1 etc visas. At one hand we have un-employment problem rampant in USA–the other hand these foreigner invasion, raping our SS, Medicare–send all these home, come to Cary, North Carolina, go to NJ, DC LA, NY etc, send all these third world guys home. God bless you, USA.

    July 15, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  24. Luc

    If GOP thinks that they are going to repatriate these people in 5-7 days they are dreaming. There is a back log going back three years. Good luck with that. I wander if they will want anything from Obama care in the bill. Wouldn't surprise me. GOP may need some of that money to sue Obama. What a joke, can't wait to hear there bill. buffoon are you an idiot 3.8 billion is not to keep them here you moron. Please get back in your trailer and act like a buffoon there.

    July 15, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. freedom

    Glad to hear it – don't like what's happening – provide a better solution!! Awesome!!

    July 15, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |