H.R. 5230, Making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014

H.R. 5230

Making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014

Sponsor
Rep. Hal Rogers

Committee
Appropriations

Date
July 31, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Thursday, July 31, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 5230, a bill Making Supplemental Appropriations for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes, under a rule.  H.R. 5230 was introduced on July 29, 2014, by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Bill Summary

H.R. 5230 provides a total of $659 million for border security, enforcement of immigration and customs laws, humanitarian assistance, and illegal immigration prevention.  “This funding is targeted to meet the immediate needs surrounding the current border crisis, and will be sufficient to cover the estimated costs of these activities for the rest of the 2014 fiscal year.”[1]  This funding is fully offset through cuts and rescissions of existing funds within federal agencies.[2]  The House proposal significantly scales back the President’s request, excluding longer-term, unnecessary, and non-emergency funding.

Specifically, the bill provides $405 million for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to boost border security and law enforcement activities.  This includes: 1) $334 million for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to boost enforcement of current immigration and customs laws through increased detention space and additional detention and enforcement personnel; 2) $71 million for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operations; and 3) authority for Southwest border states to reallocate existing state and local grant funds for costs related to combating illegal immigration and humanitarian efforts for unaccompanied children and families.  The bill also provides $22 million to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to accelerate judicial proceedings for immigrants by hiring additional temporary judges and providing courts with video teleconferencing equipment to expedite the adjudication of immigration cases.  The bill also provides $35 million for National Guard border efforts – essentially doubling the funding for the Guard presence on the border.

H.R. 5230 also provides $197 million for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide temporary housing and humanitarian assistance to unaccompanied children.  This funding covers the cost of short-term care while the unaccompanied children await expedited processing and adjudication.  The bill also provides $40 million to the State Department for repatriation assistance to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, all of which is redirected from within existing foreign aid for Central American countries.

This legislation is fully offset through cuts and rescissions of existing funds.  These include:

  • $22 million in excess funding from the Department of Justice “Asset Forfeiture Fund”;
  • $35 million in excess funding from the Department of Defense “Working Capital Fund”;
  • $405 million from unobligated, prior-year, non-emergency funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); and
  • $197 million in rescissions from unexpended, unused, prior-year balances within the State Department’s Economic Support Fund.

Finally, H.R. 5230 contains several policy provisions to improve border enforcement activities and processes, including:

  • A change to the “Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act of 2008” to require that all unaccompanied minors are treated in the same manner as Mexican nationals for the purpose of removal.  This requires unaccompanied children who do not wish to be voluntarily returned to their home country to remain in HHS custody while they await an expedited immigration court hearing (within seven days of being screened by child welfare officials).
  • A prohibition on the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture from denying or restricting CBP activities on federal land under their respective jurisdictions within 100 miles of the border.
  • A change to the Immigration and Nationality Act to strengthen the law prohibiting criminals with serious drug-related convictions from applying for asylum.
  • A provision expressing the Sense of Congress that the Secretary of Defense should not house unauthorized aliens at military installations unless certain conditions are met.

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[1] http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=389562
[2] See Id.

Background

In recent months, there has been a significant surge in the number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) crossing the southwest border between the United States and Mexico.  According to estimates from the DHS’s Office of Immigration Statistics, the number of minors illegally entering the U.S. is expected to reach 142,000 in 2015.[3]  DHS has seen more than 50,000 minors attempting to cross into the United States in the first 8 ½ months of the current fiscal year.[4]  A vast majority of UAC apprehensions are composed of children originating from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.[5]  In fiscal year 2014, 92 percent of UAC apprehended at the border have come from these countries, while only 7 percent have come from Mexico.[6]

The Administration uses two laws, guidance, and an agreement as the basis for its policy toward UACs.  The Flores Settlement Agreement of 1997, which resulted from lawsuits alleging mistreatment by the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in the 1980s and 1990s, set nationwide standards for the detention, treatment, and release of UACs.[7]  In the agreement, the government recognized that UACs were especially vulnerable when detained without a parent or legal guardian, and listed six entities that a child may be placed with.[8]  The Homeland Security Act (HSA) of 2002 “divided responsibilities for the processing and treatment of UACs between the newly created Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and [HHS].”[9]  The HSA delegated apprehension, transfer, and repatriation responsibilities to DHS; delegated the coordination of UAC custody and care to HHS; and established a definition for UACs.[10]  In 2008, Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA) to address the concern that UACs apprehended in the U.S. “were not being adequately screened to see if there was a reason that they should not be returned to their home country.”[11]  Section 235 of the TVPRA requires agencies to develop policies and procedures to ensure that UACs are safely repatriated to their country, and requires UACs from Mexico and Canada to be returned immediately.[12]  For UACs from other countries, the TVPRA requires the CBP to, within 72 hours of determining that the illegal entrant is a UAC, place them in the custody of HHS until formal removal proceedings occur.[13]

On June 17, 2011, ICE Director John Morton submitted a memo providing guidance to officials about which aliens should be prioritized for removal.[14]  The memo placed low priority on the removal of minors, which means that “a vast majority of the tens of thousands of children that have crossed the border will remain in the country.”[15]  This guidance, combined with the increasing number of UACs coming from Central American countries, has left HHS with thousands of UACs in its custody.  H.R. 5230 addresses the immediate need by increasing funding for border enforcement; providing the funding to accelerate legal proceedings; and providing repatriation assistance to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, while providing the funding to ensure that UACs are treated and cared for in a humanitarian way.

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[3] House Judiciary Committee – Backgrounder: Surge of Minors at the U.S.-Mexico Border.
[4] William A. Kandel, Andorra Bruno, Peter J. Meyer, Clare Ribando Seelke, Maureen Taf-Morales, and Ruth Ellen Wasem, “  Unaccompanied Alien Children: Potential Factors Contributing to Recent Immigration,” Congressional Research Service (July 3, 2014), at summary.
[5] Lisa Seghetti, Alison Siskin, and Ruth Ellen Wasem, “Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview”, Congressional Research Service (July 28, 2014), at 1.
[6] House Committee on Homeland Security: Recent Surge of Unaccompanied Alien Children, at 1.
[7] Id. at 3.
[8] Note: These entities are: 1) a parent; 2) a legal guardian; 3) an adult relative (brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or grandparent); 4) an individual designated by the parent (subject to INS approval); 5) a licensed program willing to accept legal custody; and 6) an adult seeking custody (e.g. a foster parent).  See: House Committee on Homeland Security: Recent Surge of Unaccompanied Alien Children, at 2.
[9] Lisa Seghetti “Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview”, at 3.
[10] Id. at 1. Note: UACs are defined in the HSA as “children who lack lawful immigration status in the United States, are under the age of 18, are without a parent or legal guardian in the United States, or no parent or legal guardian in the United States is available to provide care and physical custody.”
[11] Id. at 1.
[12] Id. at 4.
[13] Id. at 4.
[14] House Committee on Homeland Security: Recent Surge of Unaccompanied Alien Children, at 3.
[15] Id. at 3.

Cost

A CBO cost estimate is currently unavailable.  This legislation is fully offset and would not increase discretionary spending.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.