The Corner

Report: House Border Bill Could Make It Easier for Unaccompanied Children to Stay Here

The House supplemental appropriations bill aimed at addressing the border crisis before the August recess would allow more unaccompanied alien children to stay in the U.S., increase the immigration bureaucracy, and add to existing immigration-court backlogs, according to an internal NumbersUSA analysis obtained by National Review Online.  

In its analysis of the bill, NumbersUSA, a group that advocates for less immigration, argues that the bill would create a new hearing process — a 235B” proceeding — for unaccompanied alien children (UAC) who do not express a credible fear of persecution, are not victims of trafficking, and do not volunteer to return to their country of origin (which presumably will include a great deal of them). The 235B proceeding must be completed before the standard removal process would begin.

The 235B proceedings would require that the UAC be brought before an immigration judge within seven days, at which point the judge would have 72 hours after the hearing to issue a ruling. If the UAC did not show up to the hearing, the federal government would only be allowed to deport the child, as a legal matter, in absentia if the government proved by a preponderance of evidence that the alien was at fault for his or her absence.

Additionally, NumbersUSA alleges that any of the illegal immigrant children who were previously issued a Notice to Appear for a removal proceeding between January 1, 2014, and the date of the bill’s enactment would be granted a second chance at admission to the U.S. via a 235B proceeding. This second chance would be granted regardless of whether the UAC has been deported, ordered removed, or is no longer a minor.

The 235B proceedings will be conducted by 40 immigration judges who will be chosen by the attorney general and Department of Homeland Security from a pool of retired immigration judges, current immigration judges, administrative-law judges, and magistrate judges. The 40 judges designated to work the 235B proceedings will remain in effect until the attorney general and DHS decide the humanitarian crisis at the border has ended.

The report concludes that the spending the House proposes would be $40 million greater than the offsets provided in the bill. The analysis also reports the bill allocates $40 million for the State Department to give in aid to Central America.    

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