U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says he plans to introduce emergency legislation that will keep immigrant families together at detention facilities and guarantees an expedited review with an immigration judge within 72 hours -- resulting in either asylum or deportation within two weeks.
Cruz made the announcement Monday afternoon and released the following statement via email.
“All Americans are rightly horrified by the images we are seeing on the news, children in tears pulled away from their mothers and fathers. This must stop. Now. We can end this crisis by passing the legislation I am introducing this week. Repeatedly, I have visited detention facilities tragically housing young children. For far too long, children have been the greatest victims of our broken immigration system, with tens of thousands of children who were detained under the Obama Administration and continuing through today, and with far too many of those children facing horrific physical or sexual assault from criminal human traffickers. The answer is not what congressional Democrats are proposing: simply releasing illegal aliens and returning to the failed policy of ‘catch and release.’ Rather, we should fix the backlog in immigration cases, remove the legal barriers to swift processing, and resolve asylum cases on an expedited basis. While these cases are pending, families should stay together. Children belong with their mothers and fathers. Once their cases have been adjudicated – under my legislation, in no longer than 14 days – those who meet the legal standard should be granted asylum and those who don’t should be immediately returned to their home country. We can fix this. If my Democratic colleagues will join me, not play politics but work to solve the problem, we can start to end family separation this week. And, we can honor the rule of law.”
Cruz said his act, the Protect Kids and Parents Act, will do the following:
- Double the number of federal immigration judges, from roughly 375 to 750.
- Authorize new temporary shelters, with accommodations to keep families together.
- Mandate that illegal immigrant families must be kept together, absent aggravated criminal conduct or threat of harm to the children.
- Provide for expedited processing and review of asylum cases, so that—within 14 days—those who meet the legal standards will be granted asylum, and those who do not will be immediately returned to their home countries.