McConnell says kids illegally crossing U.S. borders need to be humanely detained and sent home

07/11/2014 04:38 PM

LOUISVILLE — Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said he has a solution to the crisis of unaccompanied children crossing the southern border — to send them back home, the senior Senator also defended his vote against an immigration bill in 2013.

McConnell said Friday the solution to the problem of a massive influx of children attempting to immigrate to the United States is to amend current law so that these children can be detained and then sent back to their homes. McConnell cited 2008 legislation which, he said, prevents Mexican and Canadian children from staying in the U.S. if they illegally cross the border.

“The message is probably going out my friends all over the world, if you’re in an unhappy situation and you’re not a Mexican or a Canadian — just get your kid in here somehow and they’ll be here forever,” McConnell said. “If we want to stop the flow…it’s really not that complicated. Secure the border, treat the children humanely and return them immediately.”

The law McConnell referenced is the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act of 2008 which was signed into law by President George W. Bush with bipartisan support.

In a section of the bill the act calls on safe and secure placements for minors crossing the borders into the United States that are not from Mexico or Canada.

President Barack Obama requested $3.73 Billion to deal with the children immigrating into the United States from non-contiguous countries. The plan Obama said was to supply additional revenue to Health and Human Services to aid unaccompanied minors in the care of the agency as well as more money for immigrant courts to speed up the backlog of cases involving these children.

McConnell said the problem with that strategy is that it leads him to believe “they expect these kids to be here for a long time.”

“Under current law what typically happens is they are given a court date after which they are released with a subsequent date to come back. And a significant percentage of them never come back,” McConnell said.

If the United States does not secure the border by sending the kids back home, McConnell said, the problem would go on “forever.”

McConnell also defended criticisms from Grimes for not voting for a comprehensive immigration bill in 2013 saying, “I didn’t.”

“Because the provisions regarding border security were totally inadequate. it didn’t even come close to dealing with the first step…which is securing the border,” he said.


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