House Republicans reversed course and passed a $694 million measure Friday night aimed at addressing the flow of unaccompanied minors across the southern border.
It passed 223-189 mostly along party lines with all three Nebraska members of the House, Jeff Fortenberry, Lee Terry, and Adrian Smith, voting in favor. All are Republicans.
Four Republicans voted against the bill. One Democrat voted for it.
The House delayed leaving on Congress’ five-week August recess to vote on the bill, which was pulled the day before by House leadership when a count of the Republican rank-and-file determined leadership hadn’t gathered enough support to pass it.
The bill provides emergency funding to speed-up the deportation of tens of thousands of minors from Central America who have crossed into the United States since October 1st.
An estimated 57,000 minors have traveled from primarily three countries, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala to this country. Approximately 200 of the children have been placed in Nebraska. Efforts by Gov. Dave Heineman to get details about the children from the federal government have been ignored.
The House measure falls far short of the $3.7 billion requested by President Barack Obama. The Senate failed to agree on a measure.
Congressman Lee Terry issued the following written statement:
“I’ve long said that we’re in this unfortunate position because of the President’s failure to enforce our nation’s immigration laws. I’m glad the House stayed to vote on this legislation and finish our work before beginning our district work period
“This bill represents a balanced, common sense solution to the crisis on our southern border. It is compassionate in the way it deals with the children already inside our borders and how it’s focused on re-uniting them with their parents. But it also respects the rule of law by upholding current immigration statutes and takes the necessary steps to secure our border.”
Congressman Smith released the following statement:
“This legislation, while not perfect, would be an important first step to provide resources to address this crisis without writing the President a blank check as he requested. The House of Representatives has acted. It is now time for the Senate to either pass the House bill or to find an alternative solution. The well-being of the children and the security of our national borders are too important to ignore.”