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Congress Is Putting A Lot Of Effort Into Doing Nothing About The Border Crisis

August recess starts very, very soon.

Posted on July 31, 2014, at 4:12 p.m. ET

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants, many of the unaccompanied children, have crossed the border in recent months.

AP Photo/Eric Gay, Pool

Basically no one knows what to do about this.

AP Photo/Eric Gay, Pool

A lot of the negotiating over what exactly to do has centered around a 2008 law that determines how many unaccompanied minors are handled by the government.

That law, which applies to unaccompanied minors from countries outside Mexico and Canada, requires those minors to be detained by the Department of Health and Human Services and given asylum hearings (rather than deported). The White House originally wanted changes to the 2008 anti-trafficking law so it would be easier to deport the undocumented immigrants, and Republicans have backed changes to that law. Congressional Democrats have opposed sharply, because, they argue, many of the children should be considered refugees fleeing violence.
AP Photo/Nogales International, Jonathan Clark

That law, which applies to unaccompanied minors from countries outside Mexico and Canada, requires those minors to be detained by the Department of Health and Human Services and given asylum hearings (rather than deported).

The White House originally wanted changes to the 2008 anti-trafficking law so it would be easier to deport the undocumented immigrants, and Republicans have backed changes to that law. Congressional Democrats have opposed sharply, because, they argue, many of the children should be considered refugees fleeing violence.

The White House asked for $3.7 billion in additional funds to deal with the border situation.

Joshua Roberts / Reuters
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The Senate Democrats proposed $2.7 billion in additional funding.

And some other stuff, like $225 million to send to Israel to support the Iron Dome missile-defense system.
Joshua Roberts / Reuters

And some other stuff, like $225 million to send to Israel to support the Iron Dome missile-defense system.

House Republicans initially planned to send an additional $1.5 billion in funding for the border situation.

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

But conservatives wanted that plan scaled back, so instead, House Republicans went with a $659 million package.

The White House had, of course, threatened to veto this. As part of this proposal, conservatives were also able to a secure a vote on stopping any future expansion of the Obama administration program that gave undocumented immigrants brought here as children legal status. Many conservatives believe that program has played a role in the current border crisis.
Emily Michot/Miami Herald / MCT

The White House had, of course, threatened to veto this. As part of this proposal, conservatives were also able to a secure a vote on stopping any future expansion of the Obama administration program that gave undocumented immigrants brought here as children legal status. Many conservatives believe that program has played a role in the current border crisis.

This afternoon, the House pulled their stripped down bill.

Even with the promises and concessions, Republicans didn't have the votes.

Even with the promises and concessions, Republicans didn't have the votes.

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Tonight, Democratic aides say, they'll still vote on their bill.

But now vulnerable Democrats in red states will likely have a lot more cover to vote no.
Joshua Roberts / Reuters / Reuters

But now vulnerable Democrats in red states will likely have a lot more cover to vote no.

House Republicans say they'll stay tonight in D.C. and meet about the issue Friday morning.

Lawmakers reportedly did not want to leave without voting on something regarding the border.
Joshua Roberts / Reuters / Reuters

Lawmakers reportedly did not want to leave without voting on something regarding the border.

But very, very soon, Congress will go home for August recess.

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And even if the House passes a Republican proposal and the Senate passes a Democratic proposal, it is very, very unlikely that this will result in any package of funding being directed to the border, or any resolution to the 2008 anti-trafficking law issue.

Congress!

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