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Rep. Gutierrez: GOP Needs to Help Protect Kids at the Border

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Republicans killed immigration reform, and this week they are once again demonstrating their talent for obstructionism with reports that they may block Obama’s request for more money to address the children at the border.

Republicans have complained about the children, demanded that they be sent back, tried to connect the children to Obama’s deferred action program in an attempt to end DACA — but now that there is a need for legislation, they may try to block it in an attempt to stick the blame on Obama.  Rep. Luis Gutierrez yesterday, in his weekly address, called out Republicans for their opposition.  Watch his video or read the full text below:

On Tuesday, the President sent Congress an urgent funding request to respond to the crisis of unaccompanied minors being apprehended in Texas after fleeing violence in Central America.

I support the President’s request because it gives needed resources to Homeland Security, Justice, and Health and Human Service to follow the law.

It will speed the processing of cases, pay to return to their home countries the many children who will not qualify for relief and ultimately send a strong deterrent message back to Central America — preventing more children from embarking on the treacherous, deadly journey to the U.S.

And while we accelerate the processing of children, we must not short-circuit justice and due process that was put in the law for good reason.

There is more we could do, but this is a good start.

Mr. Speaker, I want to read you a quote:

Quote: “The legislation I signed today will help provide important new services to these victims, including appointing a guardian for young victims…”

That was President George W. Bush on December 23, 2008 signing the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, a bipartisan bill — remember those? — passed by the Congress to treat children apprehended at our border differently than we treat other immigrants.

I don’t blame President Bush, I give him credit.  He signed a rational piece of legislation crafted in a bipartisan manner when cooler heads prevailed.

The law mandates that unaccompanied children be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services quickly, that they get a hearing before a judge before they are ordered removed and sent back.  It was built on previous statutes and cases, including Dick Armey’s Homeland Security Act of 2002, also signed by President Bush,

But now we hear Republicans blaming President Obama for these laws, when in fact, President Obama and our front-line border guards and first responders are following the law to the best of their ability.

We hear the Speaker of the House call for the National Guard and we hear others – even those who should know better – say the children should simply be deported.

In other words, they are asking the President to not follow the law or the express will of Congress.

Aren’t these the same Congressional leaders who are always talking about the lawless Emperor in the White House?  Aren’t they the ones who will be suing the President for supposedly not following the law?

And what about changing our immigration and border security laws so that they make sense, prevent chaos, reduce illegal immigration and undercut the black market and smuggling rings?  All we have heard from the Republicans for a year and a half is “no.”

No, immigration is too hard.  No, it is too divisive.  No, it frightens us.  No, it frightens the voters we are most frightened of…and the whopper: “We don’t trust the President to enforce the law.”

So the Republicans say we can’t change the law and you must follow the law…They are now saying we must change the law and you shouldn’t follow the law.

Well, Mr. Speaker, the Republicans cannot have it both ways.

You can’t complain that the kids at the border may have to wait two years to get a hearing before a judge because our courts are so backlogged with deportation cases, and simultaneously say – again — we can’t consider immigration reform and we can’t take people out of the deportation queue.

When you don’t fix your immigration system for three decades, when you drive people into the black market, when you spend all your money on the Border Patrol and underfund immigration courts, chaos is bound to result.

And in an incredible twist of logic and facts, they blame the DACA program which only affects long term residents who were here before 2007, for causing the increase in unaccompanied minors from three specific countries.

And when children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are seeking asylum in Belize, Panama, and Mexico, some Republicans still blame the program in the United States.

They ignore the fact that we are not seeing increases in children from Mexico or Costa Rica or the poorest country in Central America, Nicaragua. It is as if they are saying “don’t interrupt us with the facts; we have a President to blame.”

So, the President is asking for help from the Congress, including this House of Representatives, to solve a tough national problem.

Unfortunately for the President and for the rest of us in America, helping the President solve tough national problems is not what the Republican controlled House does.

Blaming the President for tough national problems is what comes naturally to the Republican-controlled House, especially when you can almost smell Election Day around the corner.

This time, Members of Congress have sunken to new levels, using children as pawns in their blame-Obama games and sowing fear in America of children…of children!.

It is appalling and ought to stop.  It is not who we are as Americans and the American people deserve better.