Democrat and Republican work on immigration bill
POSTED: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - 4:48pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 4:18pm
HIDALGO COUNTY, TX (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — Immigration stories have been all over the news lately.
What sparked it all were the stories of overcrowded holding facilities. Places so cramped, immigrants had to be flown and bused to other parts of the country.
Texas lawmakers in Washington are introducing a bill to help alleviate the overcrowding. Congressman Henry Cuellar and Senator John Cornyn aren't working on comprehensive reform. Their so-called HUMANE Act is meant to speed immigrants through the court system.
It would hire more immigration judges to see cases. It also asks the judge to make a faster decision on whether a child is eligible to stay in the country.
"Right now, we have 375,000 kids as of June 30 waiting to have a hearing," Cuellar said over the phone from Washington DC. "It usually takes three to five years to have a hearing. So we want to move this quickly so they can have a hearing."
The HUMANE Act also puts an emphasis on keeping the unaccompanied children safe while in government custody. Cuellar said they're working with the appropriations committee to see how much money they can get for the bill before it gets written.
The Democrat Cuellar working with the Republican Cornyn speaks to how important the issue is for both sides.
"It is amazing that you have a Democrat and a Republican in Washington DC agree on anything," Democratic Lt. Governor candidate Leticia Van De Putte said. "But that's not what happens in Texas. In Texas, we've always worked, Democrats and Republicans. It's really not about being red or being blue."
Van De Putte on Tuesday unveiled her own immigration plan. Her powers though, are limited as a state official wading into a federal issue.