If the staff person that answers says that the bill is meant to ensure children get a hearing in front of a judge within 7 days, you can respond with one of these points:
- A week is nowhere near enough time to navigate our complex legal system, especially for a child. Speeding up the process is only speeding them toward their deportation and in many cases their death.
- There aren't enough immigration lawyers in the U.S. to represent all of these children in such a short time, not to mention those who will take on cases pro bono, making it essentially impossible for them to get the legal representation they need.
Congressman Henry Cuellar, normally a supporter of immigration reform, has decided to team up with one of immigrants’ biggest foes, Senator John Cornyn, in calling for quicker deportation of refugee children seeking protection from the extreme violence of their home countries.
Congressman Cuellar is the Democrat that represents parts of McAllen, Mission, La Joya, Rio Grande City, Sullivan City and Laredo. He joined Republican Senator Cornyn to introduce the "HUMANE" (Helping Unaccompanied Minors and Alleviating National Emergency) Act. It really should be called the INHUMANE (It’s Not Helping Unaccompanied Minors and Alleviating National Emergency) Act.
Their bill offers an accelerated deportation process for children and a wholesale expansion of border enforcement that treats the humanitarian crisis as an opportunity to escalate activity on our already militarized border.
Congressman Cuellar is taking a stand not to protect vulnerable children, but rather to deport children to their death. José Arnulfo Ochoa Ochoa, an expert in Honduras with Christian humanitarian aid group World Vision International, says that by sending these children away, “you are handing them a death sentence.”
In their home countries, narco gangs are vying for turf and aggressively recruiting children. Those who resist are threatened with violence, rape and murder. Children are leaving en masse for safer ground wherever they find it. Since 2009, other Central American countries have received a 712% increase in the number of asylum applications from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
The Cuellar/Cornyn bill would allow life-or-death decisions to be made within hours by Homeland Security officials, even though studies have shown that border patrol agents fail to adequately screen Mexican children to see if they are being sexually exploited by traffickers or fear persecution, as the agents are supposed to do. Why would they start asking Central American children key questions needed to prove refugee status?
It is unacceptable that a supporter of immigration reform would champion deporting children to their death. Call Congressman Cuellar’s office today at 202-225-1640 and tell him:
"I am disappointed in Congressman Cuellar's callous response to the refugee children coming to our border. Getting rid of the laws that aim to protect child victims of trafficking would send these children back to the dangerous situations they are fleeing. It is contrary to everything we stand for to summarily send children back to their death."
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