Amid separated-families issue, House GOP seeks broad-based bill

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Terre Haute , June 19, 2018 | comments
U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Newburgh, may have come out against the Trump Administration’s policy of separating immigrant families but he remains firmly behind the president’s call for a border wall.
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U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Newburgh, may have come out against the Trump Administration’s policy of separating immigrant families but he remains firmly behind the president’s call for a border wall.

The 8th District congressman “believes that a physical barrier along the southern border of the United States is a matter of national security and is an essential reform for securing the border,” Bucshon spokesman Andrew Hansen said Tuesday via email.

 
 

Bucshon is a co-sponsor of sweeping immigration legislation introduced in January by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. 

The bill seeks to reduce legal immigration by 25 percent while ensuring entry for persons whose skills are needed in the U.S. work force and an adequate guest worker program.

Authorizing border wall construction is among more than two dozen provisions in the massive bill, which would also grant temporary legal status to existing DACA beneficiaries.

Amid outrage over the separation of children at the U.S. border, Congress is facing growing pressure to act. Goodlatte has a proposal, similar to language in another more moderate, so-called “compromise” bill, that would keep families together after they are detained.

Bucshon believes multi-faceted reform is needed to secure U.S. borders, strengthen legal immigration “and ensure that our nation remains true to our heritage as a nation of immigrants,” Hansen said.

Either the Goodlatte bill, the compromise measure, or both, could be called for a vote in the House on Thursday.

In the Senate, Joe Donnelly has joined with the 48 other Democrats in that chamber in backing legislation to prevent the Department of Homeland Security from taking children from their parents.No Republicans have endorsed that measure.

Proposed Senate bills focus solely on the family separation issue and Trump is pushing for passage of broader legislation.

 
 

GOP Sen. Todd Young on Monday called for the government to expeditiously reunite families. In response to questions Tuesday concerning the border wall and DACA, Jay Kenworthy, Young’s Indiana communications director, said only, “Sen. Young has supported comprehensive bills that have both secured the border and provided legal certainty to DACA recipients.”

Sister Barbara Battista of the Sisters of Providence, who spoke out Monday about family separations, on Tuesday expressed dismay that it appears Congressional action is needed to solve the immigration issue.

“I’m so disappointed that the lives of young persons already in this country, and who have been for years, the Dreamers and DACAs, are all being politicized,” she said. “Somehow we throw a cloak over the problem by saying it’s a legislative issue when it’s a human rights issue.”

Susan Edmondson, a recently retired youth care specialist with Vigo Couny Group Homes for Children, said, “We need to stop fighting about policy and start at the beginning. We have chldren in crisis and we need to address that … not about whether they should be in a separate facility. Once they’re separated, we need to take care of them.”

Edmondson said she awoke Tuesday thinking, “If my house was on fire, I wouldn’t want everybody standing around debating how much to spend on the fire department and how many firefighters we need. I would want firefighters to get here and put the fire out.”

TriBune Star
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