Debate over immigration crisis continues - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Debate over immigration crisis continues

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Time is running out for lawmakers on Capitol Hill to approve a multi-billion dollar bill to address the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children who have illegally crossed into the U.S. But Republicans and Democrats aren't seeing eye-to-eye on additional changes to immigration law.

The GOP wants changes made to a 2008 law that gives these minors the right to an immigration hearing, which could keep them in the country for years. But Democrats say that would affect due process.

President Obama is calling for a nearly $4 billion emergency spending bill. It would be used to increase enforcement at the border and provide additional facilities to house the unaccompanied minors from Central America.

A closed door briefing was held by the Obama administration Wednesday.

Republicans say the price tag is too high while Democrats argue it's not big enough.

Under current law, minors who come into the U.S. from Central America must have an immigration hearing before being sent back to their home country. Republicans want changes made to that law before they agree on the spending bill. But Democrats say it will affect the rights of minors.

Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn and Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar have proposed a bill that would give all undocumented children an asylum hearing within a week. It would also approve the hiring of 40 new immigration judges to help keep the process moving.

Sen. Cornyn says, "This is a road map toward a solution. It's maybe not the only road map, if somebody's got a better idea we're willing to listen to it. But what I will not do is vote for a blank check for the President for something that will not solve the problem."

"It is not a one dimensional issue. We can't just say border security, border security, border security," adds Rep. Cuellar.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says, "As I've been told, the Cornyn-Cuellar legislation covers a lot of other issues other than the problem we're having at the border. Remember, had we done comprehensive immigration reform we wouldn't be having this issue."

A Washington Post poll finds 58% of Americans disapprove of the President's handling of the immigration crisis. Only 33% approve.

Congress doesn't have a lot of time to get this straightened out. Lawmakers are set to take a month long recess next month.

 

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