Border needs a bipartisan solution now, before immigration gets lost in party battles and federal red lines get expanded. So my proposal is not perfect. But it has a lot to be said for it.
This isn’t the policy that will make sense. But as we look ahead to the 2018 midterm election, the time is now to put forward some ideas for a safe, fair, and practical border security compromise that is based on a bipartisan consensus, addresses the border crisis with an eye toward the Trump administration’s future policy priorities, and that puts the safety of the American people first. Here are five points that I would urge Congress to pursue.
First, a few months ago, President Trump ordered his administration to begin removing all people apprehended by the Border Patrol after crossing the border illegally. This change is going to be controversial. But the administration needs to do what it has to do. In the meantime, Congress need to give the administration the discretion to begin removing those who are already in custody of the Border Patrol for having crossed the border illegally if it needs to start doing so. They also need to consider doing the same with persons who have been arrested at the border but have been released and are not in custody. Such releasees would not be subject to expedited removal, a provision that was introduced late in 2017 and was supposed to be put into effect last month. That provision makes all such released persons eligible for expedited removal regardless of when they were apprehended. Congress should not, under any circumstances, allow the removal of individuals who are in the custody of the Border Patrol or were released into the interior of the U.S. If the administration needs to start removing such individuals and Congress allows them to do so, it will weaken its ability to be credible when it claims that its decision to start the removal of removable aliens is not related to the border crisis.
Second, Congress should look at a variety of options for addressing the humanitarian challenge of holding children in detention. The administration did not, for example, give Congress a good answer for how to address conditions at El Paso’s border detention facility for unaccompanied and under-aged children. Congress needs to do so as soon as possible.
Third, Congress should look at the other side of the issue, and begin considering what the president’s approach could look like for the humanitarian crisis of holding children on U.S. soil. One option might be a plan for an unaccompanied child