As a flood of illegal immigrants, many of them unaccompanied minors, continues to flow across the southern U.S. border, the Barack Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats are proffering plans to protect the undocumented newcomers at taxpayer expense.
According to multiple reports, the Obama Administration has ordered border security agencies to stand down and allow the illegal immigrants to make their way into the U.S. interior.
Most of the immigrant families are from Honduras, El Salvador or Guatemala and cannot be immediately repatriated, so the government has been releasing them into the U.S. interior and telling them to report within 15 days to the nearest U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement offices. Despite promises for better transparency on immigration issues, the administration has been unwilling to say how many immigrant families it’s released — hundreds or thousands — or how many of those subsequently reported back to the government after 15 days as directed.
The Texas-based alternative media site Infowars interviewed McAllen Emergency Management Coordinator Kevin Pagan earlier this month, learning that the immigrant “detainees” are being dropped off at bus stations with vouchers for bus travel into the Nation’s interior with instructions to appear before an immigration judge at a later date.
Meanwhile, a group of House Democrats has proposed legislation that would ensure that illegal immigrants who are minors are well-represented at taxpayer expense if and when they show up in immigration court.
The bill, the Vulnerable Immigrant Voice Act (VIVA), is sponsored by House members Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) and Judy Chu (D-Calif.). It would provide legal representation to minor illegal immigrants in an effort to help undocumented aliens who are mentally disabled or are under the age of 21 understand the claims they can make to avoid deportation.
“Some of the children who have come to this country may not have a valid legal basis to remain, but some will. Yet, it is virtually impossible for a child to assert a valid claim under immigration law in the absence of legal representation,” Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), a co-sponsor of the bill, said this week.
Those immigrants under 21 are currently able to achieve special status by claiming that they’ve been abandoned by parents or were the victim of a crime.
“Most undocumented children are not aware of the claims they can make in immigration court,” Jeffries’s said. “The claims are technically available without counsel, but it is highly unlikely these children can vindicate their rights absent legal representation.”
Senate Democrats attached a similar provision to last year’s failed comprehensive immigration bill, which passed the Senate but went nowhere in the House.
As The Washington Times observed in its report on the measure, Federal law forbids the use of public funds to provide “legal representation to those going through the immigration system — though they are able to hire attorneys themselves, and the Obama administration has announced a program to try to recruit dozens of volunteer lawyers to help out where they can.”
The Administration of President Barack Obama has estimated that more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors have illegally entered the U.S. since October of last year; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates more than 150,000 will enter the U.S. illegally over the next year.
Staff writer Ben Bullard contributed to this report.