Posted by 27 September 2019
The House of Representatives is taking aim at how the Trump Administration is treating migrant children who cross the U.S.-Mexican border.
This week members of the House passed two bills that would change key part of the Trump Administration’s strategy to deal with migrant children. Here is how VoteSpotter described them:
U.S. House Bill 3525 Mandate speedy medical checks of children detained at ports of entry
Passed 236 to 174 in the U.S. House
To mandate that anyone under the age of 18 who is detained at a port of entry to the U.S. must receive a medical check within 12 hours. For individuals who may have health problems, the deadline would be six hours.
U.S. House Bill 2203 Limit immigration child separations
Passed 230 to 194 in the U.S. House
To limit the circumstances when the Border Patrol or Department of Homeland Security may separate a child entering the country from a parent. With few exceptions this would be allowed only when a court determines it is in the child's best interest. The bill also establishes a variety of government commissions and committees to reform the way that the Department of Homeland Security operates regarding immigration as well as stopping some of the Trump Administration's new asylum rules.
These bills come in response to what some observers call abuses by the Border Patrol of children who are detained entering the U.S. The policy of separating children from adults when they arrive across the border has been an especially controversial policy. Under the legislation passed by the House, this could only occur under rare circumstances.
Those supporting these bills say that they are necessary to end inhumane treatment of children at the border. Those opposing them counter that this would needlessly hamstring the Border Patrol and would end up leading to higher levels of illegal immigration.
The bills now head to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unlikely to bring them up for a vote.
Do you think that the federal government should only be able to separate migrant children from parents under rare circumstances? Should the federal government provide medical checks to anyone under 18 within 12 hours of being detained when they enter the country?