Yarmuth offers Democratic perspective on border bill and chances for broad immigration reforms

07/29/2014 03:10 PM

With what has been described as a “humanitarian crisis” continuing at the Southern border, Congress is down to the final days of session to come to an agreement on the problem before a one-month recess, and U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, has predicted a tough road ahead for President Obama’s funding plan.

On Tuesday, House Republicans announced their version of a supplemental emergency funding package providing $659 million and policy changes to deal with the more than 50,000 Central American kids crossing the border.

The funding package is a far cry from the $2.7 billion the Senate has requested, which is still shy of the $3.7 billion President Obama thinks is necessary.

Recently, Yarmuth, spoke to Pure Politics about the situation at the border, and he said the Obama administration’s plan to provide more resources to care for kids and find judicial review is the correct path.

“I think the administration is acting exactly as they should — which is to ask for more resources to put more judges down there — provide more resources so that these kids while they are in our custody are not treated like cattle,” Yarmuth said. “These are human tragedies the murder rate in Honduras right now is one out of 14.”

Yarmuth said a judicial review of the children would help decide whether or not the kids are being persecuted in their home country and are fleeing for their safety — or if they’re not and need to be sent home.

Republicans have called for repeal to a section of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act of 2008 which was signed into law by President George W. Bush with bipartisan support. The law allows for children from non-contiguous countries to immigrate to the United States. Children from contiguous countries like Mexico and Canada are automatically deported.

But, Yarmuth says Congress needs to tread carefully on the provision.

“I don’t want to make a change to the law that would make it harder for legitimate essentially refugees to be denied entrance into the United States, but I think we need to look at it and see exactly if we can be doing it a better way,” Yarmuth said.

Yarmuth predicted the President’s request would have a difficult path ahead through the lower chamber.

“We’re going to have a problem getting it through the House. Again, the Republicans think it is too much money and there are Democrats who don’t want a change in the law and so there may not be enough votes to pass it as it’s being discussed,” Yarmuth said.

With the House and Senate far apart Democratic aides are said to be contemplating linking the border bill with far reaching immigration reforms, according to Politico.

Hear what Yarmuth, an original working member of the gang of 8 who crafted the bipartisan immigration reforms, says about the chance for comprehensive reforms being re-started after the border bill. (5:35 in the video)


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