Proposed House and Senate Emergency Appropriations Bills

On 7/23/14 Senate Appropriations Committee chair Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) introduced legislation to address the humanitarian crisis on the Southwestern border. The proposal is one billion dollars less than the President's original request of $3.7 billion. There is some good news in this proposal that was not included in the President’s request: increases funding for direct legal representation services for children to $50 million (three times the President's request), doubles legal orientation programs funding (to $5 million), and provides $61.2 million for new immigration judge teams ($22.5 million more than the president's request). Unfortunately, there’s also bad news, the proposal includes $586 million for family detention, prosecution and removals.

On 7/29/14 House Appropriation Committee chair Representative Hal Rogers (R-KY) introduced legislation, H.R. 5230, to address the humanitarian crisis on the Southwestern border. The proposals contains a total of $659 million, with the majority of that funding ($462 million) going towards border security, enforcement of immigration and customs laws and illegal immigration prevention. A much smaller percentage ($197 million) will go to the Department of Health and Human Services to provide housing and humanitarian assistance to the unaccompanied children.

Most importantly, unlike the Senate appropriations legislation, the House bill contains four major policy changes to current law (from Rep. Rodgers summary of the bill):

  • “A change to the “Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act of 2008,” to require that all unaccompanied minors are treated the same as Mexicans for the purpose of removals. This would require unaccompanied children who do not wish to be voluntarily returned to their home country to remain in HHS custody while they await an expedited immigration court hearing that must occur not more than seven days after they are screened by child welfare officials.
  • A prohibition on the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture from denying or restricting CBP activities on federal land under their respective jurisdictions within 100 miles of the US-Mexico border.
  • A change to the Immigration and Nationality Act to strengthen the law prohibiting criminals with serious drug-related convictions from applying for asylum.
  • A provision expressing the “Sense of Congress” that the Secretary of Defense should not house unauthorized aliens at military installations unless certain specific conditions are met.”

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 14072947.