Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) offered Monday an emergency proposal meant to address and mitigate the crisis of family separations by immigration enforcement officials at the border.
Here's what the emergency bill would do
“All Americans are rightly horrified by the images we are seeing on the news," Cruz said in a statement Monday, "children in tears pulled away from their mothers and fathers."
"This must stop," he added. "Now."
"We can end this crisis by passing the legislation I am introducing this week," Cruz said.
Cruz's bill would double the number of federal immigration judges, from about 375 to 750, in order to more quickly adjudicate asylum and illegal immigration cases.
It would also set up additional temporary shelters to accommodate families, who would under current policy, be separated.
Cruz's bill also says that families should stay together except on two occasions, when there is criminal conduct or there appears a threat of harm to children.
Finally, the bill would call for "expedited processing and review of asylum cases" so that such cases would be adjudicated within 14 days.
"We can fix this," Cruz tweeted. "If my Democratic colleagues will join me, not play politics but work to solve the problem, we can start to end family separation this week."
"And, we can honor the rule of law," he added.
Some on the left criticized the bill, saying it would solve family separation by expediting the deportation of parents with their children back to their country of origin.
How did we get here?
The media is attempting to place all the blame of family separation on President Donald Trump, but the administration has pointed out that the law that led to the policy has been in place for more than a decade.
What has changed is that the new administration is choosing to criminally charge all persons crossing the border illegally. Under past administrations, criminal charges were only usually applied to those cases involving drug smuggling, or to illegal immigrants who already had a criminal record.
According to federal law and longstanding DHS policy, children are separated from their parents when the parents are charged with a crime.
Thus, the Trump administration is correct in saying that if members of Congress are upset or angry about the policy, it is within their power to change it by passing a law. But it is also true that there has been an uptick in family separations as a result of a change in policies having to do with criminally charging all who cross the border illegally.