- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

House Republicans will call Wednesday for decisive action to end the border crisis, proposing a deployment of National Guard troops and accelerated deportation hearings for unaccompanied children inundating the U.S., said a Capitol Hill aide familiar with the plan.

The proposals from a task force will aim to fix the most urgent problems quickly, “stemming the flow of [unaccompanied alien children] and securing the border right now,” the Republican aide said. “This is about solutions right now.”

Several of the recommendations focus on expediting the immigration hearing process for the unaccompanied alien children. Otherwise, most of them could stay in the U.S. for months or years before facing immigration judges, if they show up for their hearings.

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“Having this [immigration hearing] process take one to five years is unacceptable,” said the aide, adding that the proposed measures would shorten the process to “within a week.”

The plans call for sheltering the children and conducting immigration hearings closer to where they are apprehended near the border in Texas and Arizona. More facilities would be set up and more hearing judges would be sent to the border region.

Republicans close to the task force said they were bracing for criticism from Democrats and immigration rights advocates who would accuse them of “militarizing” the border. But they remained committed to sending help to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents, who are overwhelmed by waves of children and families crossing the border.

PHOTOS: Children detained at U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility

The White House has frowned on proposals to deploy the National Guard, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s announcement Monday that he was sending 1,000 National Guard troops to his state’s border with Mexico.

In 2006, President Bush sent 6,000 National Guard troops to the border to crack down on illegal immigration.

Under pressure from governors in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, President Obama extended the deployment and sent more National Guard troops in 2010. By the end of that year, however, he ordered the troops to withdraw.

In a move to further enhance border enforcement, the task force will propose lifting restrictions that prevent police and border agents from conducting operations on some federal land.

Border agents operating on federal land must comply with a slew of laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Wilderness Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

They also have to obtain permission or permits from federal land management agencies before undertaking operations such as maintaining roads or installing surveillance equipment.

The requirements have been blamed for creating vast “black spots” along the border that drug gangs and human traffickers exploit.

Bipartisanship needed

The policy measures recommended by the task force, which was led by Rep. Kay Granger, Texas Republican, will be combined with an emergency spending bill that the House Appropriations Committee plans to offer as an alternative to Mr. Obama’s $3.7 billion request to address the crisis.

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