JULY 16, 2014
Rep. Salmon introduces Expedited Family Reunification Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) has introduced H.R. 5053, the Expedited Family Reunification Act, which will help the thousands of Unaccompanied Alien Children detained by Customs and Border Protection agents after illegally immigrating to the United States be returned to their families in their country of origin. Upon introduction of the legislation, Rep. Salmon issued the following statement:
“When I visited the Nogales Placement Center on June 13, I was horrified by what I saw. As a father and grandfather, I am appalled at what these children have had to endure. Facing essential abandonment by their parents and loved ones, they are sent on a trek hundreds of miles long so that they can surrender to U.S. Border Patrol agents in the hopes of gaining de facto citizenship.
Our law currently does not allow for unaccompanied alien children to be returned to their parents at home in an expedited manner unless the nation from which they arrive is contiguous to the United States. This legislation would make this technical correction in our immigration policy and allow us to quickly reunite these children with their families.”
Under current law, Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) from nations not contiguous with the United States are required to face a deportation hearing before they are returned home to their parents. Thousands of Central American children recently apprehended by CBP agents now face immigration courts and the prospect of being forced to live for years in foster care – away from their families, loved ones, and home nations – before being returned home.
The Expedited Family Reunification Act would amend existing statute to harmonize the way unaccompanied children are processed and allow immigration officials to coordinate with Central American governments to ensure the safe return of UACs to their families in their home countries.