Congressman Cuellar speaks out about immigration crisis and what needs to be done
POSTED: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 5:56pm
UPDATED: Monday, July 7, 2014 - 8:35am
McAllen, TX (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — The influx of immigrants in South Texas is garnering attention from members of Congress to address the situation.
Congressman Henry Cuellar is looking at the numbers--not just the amount of people crossing the border illegally, but the dollar signs attached to this immigration crisis.
"We're talking about in the last 60 days, that's a 4.3 billion dollar request to help address this crisis that we're seeing," explained Cuellar. "This crisis is gonna get very expensive."
Right now, the cost to detain one immigrant child averages around $400-500 per day.
Cuellar says once you multiply that by the thousands of children that are already here and how many days they stay, the cost is excessive.
"It would be cheaper instead of detaining them here for long periods of time, it would be cheaper to quickly screen them, take care of them while they're here quickly, and then remove them as soon as possible."
The concept of detaining and removing immigrants is limited by the 2008 Human Trafficking Act which treats immigrants from countries other than Mexico differently.
While immigrants from Mexico are essentially expedited and removed, immigrants from non-contiguous countries are eventually transferred to the custody of HHS.
Cuellar insists adjusting this piece of legislation is necessary--but instead of reinventing the wheel, Cuellar believes in simply making it roll better.
"All we have to do is tweak the 2008 Human Trafficking Act," said Cuellar. "Unfortunately, the way this law was written, people can just come in, get across the river and say 'I'm in,' and after that the system is gonna take a long time, and they're basically here for years or even longer."