- Associated Press - Monday, June 25, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump wants to quickly turn back immigrants at the border rather than allowing them prolonged judicial proceedings. He has suggested the U.S. could be more like Mexico. House Republicans have similarly suggested that young immigrants, in particular, should be treated like those from Mexico, regardless of their country of origin.

Here’s a look at the current policy and the proposed changes.


Unaccompanied children from Mexico who arrive at the border can be turned back more quickly than those from countries not contiguous to the United States. Under the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Act, children who enter the U.S. illegally from countries other than Mexico and Canada are immediately referred to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. They are temporarily placed with family or friends, or in the office’s facilities, while awaiting hearings. The policy was designed to protect minors who have traveled long distances, particularly from Central American countries, and may be fleeing violence, according to the Migration Policy Institute.



Republicans in Congress are considering changing the law to treat all minors who arrive without parents the same, regardless of the country of origin. A House GOP immigration overhaul shifts the treatment of unaccompanied minors to the process used for the children from Mexico and Canada. The Trump administration has also suggested equal treatment of the children as a way to quickly process claims. Democrats largely oppose such changes.



Quick return of the children could be one way to stem lengthy court proceedings or the long detentions that have emerged under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” approach to border crossings, supporters say. They say some minors fail to appear for hearings. But advocates for children warn it could put the young immigrants in harm’s way. It could also prolong their detentions and create a logistical challenge for transporting them home.

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