Congress Should Act on the Border
June 19, 2018
But the adults will often claim asylum. The administration wants to hold as many of the migrants as possible while their claims are adjudicated, because if they are released they are likely to abscond. Under a more rational system, the parents and the children could be held together. But the long-standing Flores consent decree, recently expanded by the courts, makes it impossible to hold minors for more than about 20 days. This means that if we want to keep families together the only option is to release them together — creating an incentive for more migrants to make the dangerous journey to the border, to get released into the interior in their turn.
But most critics don’t grapple with the fact that the administration literally doesn’t have the option of holding parents and kids together for more than a few weeks, which isn’t long enough to resolve an asylum claim.
Congress needs to address all this.
The House is about to consider DACA legislation but should break out a border package focused on these measures, and Ted Cruz is proposing a similar bill in the Senate. One would hope it would have a good chance of passage in the slipstream of outrage over the last week; if Democrats won’t support it, it will be a telling statement that they oppose enforcing our immigration laws as much as separating families.
The only way that the ongoing influx at the border will stop is if migrants realize that they won’t make it into the United States. Congress has it within its power to make it possible to hold families together and — if they don’t have legitimate asylum claims — swiftly return them home together. It should act, and act quickly.