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Sen. Cruz: We Can Keep Kids With Their Parents and Uphold the Rule of Law

Tours immigrant detention facilities, holds roundtable discussion with local officials at Weslaco Border Patrol Station

WESLACO, Texas – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today toured immigrant detention facilities for children in South Texas with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). Later, they held a roundtable at the Weslaco Border Patrol Station with representatives from federal agencies involved in the process of receiving, detaining, and adjudicating immigrant families, as well as non-profits and local elected officials.

Still photos and video of Sen. Cruz’s tour and roundtable may be viewed here. Sen. Cruz’s remarks at the press conference may be viewed here.

“It is absolutely the case that children need to be with their moms and dads,” Sen. Cruz said at a press conference following the roundtable. “That is the right thing to do. This week, I introduced legislation to mandate that children stay with their parents absent a threat of harm or violence or other factors like that. I believe we can do it in a way that is consistent with also respecting the rule of law.” 

Sen. Cruz continued, discussing the solutions he’s offered in the Protect Kids and Parents Act. He also urged his colleagues in Congress on both sides of the aisle to work toward a solution that keeps kids with their parents and also upholds the rule of law.

“I introduced legislation this week that mandates that kids stay with their parents, that doubles the number of federal immigration judges,” Sen. Cruz said. “One of the real challenges that you have with the Flores settlement is there’s a backlog in terms of processing cases. We need more resources to process cases to adjudicate them quickly. The legislation I introduced creates an expedited process so that if an individual has an asylum claim, that asylum claim should be adjudicated. The legislation I filed lays out an expedited time frame that either if they meet the legal standards for asylum, then asylum should be granted. If they don’t meet the legal standards for asylum and it’s denied, then they should be promptly returned to their home country. Either way, the process should be expedited, where there’s a hearing before a federal immigration judge, and an adjudication. My hope is that we will see both parties working together.” 

This week, Sen. Cruz introduced legislation to end the separation of illegal immigrant parents and children at the border. The Protect Kids and Parents Act:

  • mandates that illegal immigrant families must be kept together;
  • provides for expedited processing and review of the cases of individuals who are here with children, so that within 14 days those who meet the legal standards to stay will be allowed to stay, and those who do not will be returned to their home counties with their families;
  • doubles the number of federal immigration judges, an increase from roughly 375 to 750. These new judges will prioritize processing claims of individuals who are here with children; and
  • authorizes new family shelters so that children can remain with their parents while their parents’ claims are being processed. 

Read the text of the bill here. A one page summary of the bill may be viewed here.