GOP bill would amend 2008 trafficking law for child immigrants

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) has introduced a bill that would amend a 2008 trafficking law that allows child immigrants from countries that don't border the U.S. to stay in the country longer.

Under current law, unaccompanied child migrants from Mexico and Canada must be screened within 48 hours and deported if they do not have claims for asylum or are not trafficking victims.

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Meanwhile, children from other countries must go through a lengthier screening process.

About three-quarters of the unaccompanied minors flooding the southern border over recent weeks are from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, which makes it harder to repatriate them quickly. Calvert said the influx of child immigrants crossing the border necessitated congressional action to modify the 2008 law.

"It has become increasingly clear that Congress must take action and close an unintended loophole that is a significant cause of the crisis at our border in Texas," Calvert said.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who signed on as a co-sponsor, said that changing the law would help deport the children to their home countries faster and deter others.

"The best resolution to this humanitarian crisis is the safe return of these children to their families and country of origin," Issa said. "By promptly returning them home to their loved ones, it sends a clear message that will discourage other children from making this dangerous trip."