Texas Border Business
WASHINGTON—Congressman Cuellar (TX-28) today released the following statement regarding a U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) notification of reprograming $167 million of federal funds from other program to assist with the surge of unaccompanied minors at the southern border.
“As the representative for the border, my district is one of the hardest hit by the surge in unaccompanied minors and family units to our border. We must do more to assist our partners in Central America by working to end the violence which is driving these unaccompanied minors and family units to our borders. This reprograming of funds would not be necessary if we did a better job at securing the border. We are currently playing defense at our own goal line when we would be better served by rooting out the cause.
“Through my role on the House Appropriations Committee, we’ve provided $750 million in assistance to Central America in fiscal year 2016. However, this money has not been obligated in a timely or efficient manner. While it’s important to ensure this funding is used properly, we have little time to spare.
“This further presses the need for more immigration judges, especially along the southern border, to expeditiously clear these cases. Currently, there is a backlog of roughly half a million immigration cases. While I was successful in assisting to bring onboard an additional 55 immigration judges through the fiscal year 2016 omnibus appropriations bill – with another 25 judges still pending in the FY17 Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill for a potential total of 80 new immigration judges over two years – it is not enough and we must do more.”