Texas Senators file legislation to end separation of immigrant families at border

Posted at 8:26 PM, Jun 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-22 21:26:09-04

The eyes of the country and the world are on South Texas after thousands of immigrant children have been separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Those children are now being held in detention centers, and today Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz toured two of those facilities in the Rio Grande Valley. The visit comes after the Senators jointly filed legislation to end the separation of immigrant families. 

"The most compelling thing I saw, we saw babies, weeks old, there in those facilities," Senator Cornyn said about his visit to the detention facilities holding immigrant children. 

Those infants are just a few of the 2,300 children that have been separated from their parents at the border in the past five weeks under President Donald Trump’s police of "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

While that policy has divided the American public, Senators Cornyn and Cruz believe the solution lies in their jointly filed "Protect Kids and Parents Act."

"Legislation mandating that kids stay with their parents," Senator Cruz said. 

That legislation would expedite processing for immigrants with children.

It would also double the number of federal immigration judges handling cases. Finally, it would authorize family shelters so that children could stay with their parents as their cases are processed. 

"We treat people humanely, but have this policy of prosecuting people who violate laws on the books. I think we can actually accomplish both," Senator Cornyn said. 

The Senators noted that polices carried out on the border will only be changed by consensus in Washington. 

"To see if the Democrats are willing to work with Republicans," Senator Cruz said. "The wrong solution would be a return to catch and release."

However in today’s round table meeting, which included Border Patrol, ICE, Refugee Resettlement, and elected officials, many community leaders had questions about what is next to come. 

"I believe children will be reunited with their families," Roger Rocha, LULAC National President, said. "The question is how, and when?"

Border Patrol says in the Rio Grande Valley, 436 children have been reunited with their parents so far. 

Thousands of other children have been moved to shelters or detention facilities in other parts of the state or country.