November 30, 2015
1200 News Radio – WOAI
Border Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) says as the U.S. debates the fate of Syrian refugees, the refugees are coming and will continue to arrive on our southern border, and rather than debate, the country needs to start deciding how to handle the coming flood of desperate people from the Middle East, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"They are going to try to short circuit that wait of 18 to 24 months," Cuellar told News Radio 1200 WOAI in an exclusive interview. "They will come in here, make their claim, and if there is nothing to hold them, they will be released."
Two groups of Syrians, mainly families, have already done that, arriving in the U.S. in the Laredo area and then immediately presenting themselves to Border Patrol officers, surrendering, and asking for political asylum.
The standard operating procedure right now is to place them into the family detention centers in Dilley or Karnes City, but many are released on bonds or on ankle monitors after a few months in the facilities. And Cuellar points out that once they are released, the demands of governor like Gov. Abbott that they not be housed in Texas are meaningless. They have the right to settle whenever in the U.S. they want, as long as they present themselves for immigration hearings, which could be set for several years in the future.
Cuellar says that has the effect of scrapping all of the talk of a lengthy wait and 'vetting period' for people seeking refugee status.
His suggestion, working together with Mexico to make it harder for refugees, many of whom enter the Americas in Central America, to make it to the U.S.
“Mexico stopped 174,00 people last year that were coming into the U.S, and they did it only with $80 million,” he said.
The Middle Eastern refugees are joining a flood of individuals from the increasingly failed states of Central America who are trying to get into the U.S. The Border Patrol reported a spike in unaccompanied minors and families from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras entering the U.S. in September and October by using the same method…surrendering to the Border Patrol and requesting political asylum.
Add to that huge numbers of Cubans who are afraid that the new relationship between Havana and Washington will scrap their traditional right to political asylum in the U.S. and the rush of Middle Eastern refugees fleeing war at home, and Cuellar says the U.S. needs to stop arguing possibilities, and start taking action to deal with the flood of immigrants who are on the way.