By Jon Dougherty
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told a House committee on Thursday that Central American governments in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador have said they want the U.S. to return their children, but that can’t happen under current law.
“What we hear from the Northern Triangle governments – they have said this publicly. I am sure that they will tell you when you visit them – is they want their children back,” she told the House Homeland Security Committee.
“Our laws uniquely allow us to send Mexican children back home after they have gone through a process, do not have a legal right to stay, but under the law, we cannot send children from other countries back, except for Mexico and Canada,” she added.
“So the Northern Triangle governments have said to us – they will say to you – ‘please send us our children back. We want them reunited with our families and communities here,” the DHS chief continued.
“We don’t want the smugglers to be able to convince parents to send their children on this perilous journey where they are absolutely victims of violence and abuse.”
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) noted that many families within the Northern Triangle countries pay Mexico-based cartels upwards of $6,000 to smuggle their child into the U.S. He asked the DHS chief what could be done to alleviate that risk.
“The number of unaccompanied children is part of the humanitarian crisis. These are children whose parents decided to send them alone on a very, very dangerous journey at the hands of most often smugglers and coyotes or traffickers into the United States,” she said, adding that because of the high incidence of rape, every young girl caught at the border who is 10 or older is given a pregnancy test.
“This is not a safe journey, so I ask again that we change the law, we treat all children the same, and we afford them the opportunity to go back home if they have no legal right to be in the United States,” Nielsen said.
“The other part of this that I think we need to do is we need to keep families together. Families need to be able to be kept together, go through the process,” she continued.
“If they have a legal right to stay, we will welcome them here. If they don’t have a legal right to stay, the most humanitarian thing to do is to remove them efficiently and effectively. Both of those changes we need from Congress.”
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have opposed nearly every effort by POTUS Donald Trump and his administration to address the burgeoning crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, where experts say based on the most recent estimates, illegal crossings will triple this year.
But Left-wing groups have battled the administration — successfully — in hand-picked friendly federal courts, while Democrats and a number of RINOs push back against the president with legislation.
Most analysts believe that it’s just a matter of time before the president acts in some way, without Congress, to staunch the flow of humanity at the border. Unilateral action that upsets enough #NeverTrump Republicans in the Senate, however, means the president also runs the risk of being impeached, as talk giant Rush Limbaugh theorized earlier this week.
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