Camila Dechalus

Divided House Democrats punt border bill until after recess
‘We want to make sure we do what we’re going to do right,’ Hoyer says

Disagreement in the House Democratic Caucus finally derailed a bill that would have provided more oversight over border agencies coping with an influx of asylum seekers from Central America.

“We want to make sure we do what we’re going to do right,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer told reporters Thursday afternoon. “There are a number of things that need to be dealt with on the policy. … I think we need to do that in a thoughtful way.”

Trump’s new asylum rule left dead in the water after court decisions
The Supreme Court may ultimately have to decide the issue

Two contradictory federal court decisions, both on the same day, have disrupted President Donald Trump’s latest attempt to tighten asylum laws, and the Supreme Court may ultimately have to decide the issue.

A federal judge in California late Wednesday temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s new rule that requires asylum seekers transiting a third country to request protections there first before applying for asylum in the United States.

Behind the scenes of covering headline committee hearings
Undercover Capitol: taking you inside the historic workplace — one video at a time

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will testify before two House committees on Wednesday, an event that will no doubt get wall-to-wall coverage from the news media, despite the fact the Mueller is unlikely to actually say anything new.

Democrats denounce immigration raids slated for weekend
‘We pray that the president will think about this again,’ Pelosi says

Democrats and advocacy groups are raising concerns over the latest reports that the Trump administration is planning to ramp up its enforcement efforts and conduct immigration raids across the country on Sunday.

“We pray that the president will think about this again,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday.

House Judiciary to vote on subpoenas on family separation order
Chair Jerrold Nadler said 12 individuals would be issued subpoenas including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Trump’s son-in-law Jared C. Kushner

The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled for Thursday a vote on a resolution that would authorize the issuing of subpoenas to current and former White House officials who participated in the 2018 decisions over the “zero tolerance” policy, which resulted in the separation of more than 2,500 children from their migrant parents at the southern border.

The resolution would authorize subpoenas for documents and testimony from current and former administration officials relating to the family separation policy, other separating policies and the detention of children and families.

Senate approves border bill; Pelosi and Trump talk compromise

Updated 10:35 p.m. | With the Senate’s passage of its version of a border supplemental funding bill Wednesday, and its rejection of the House measure, negotiations between the White House, Senate and House leaders will now attempt to nail down a compromise before Congress leaves for the July Fourth recess.

Several disagreements lie at the heart of Senate and House differences on the two bills. The Senate bill rejected some of the tight restrictions the House included in its measure on the care of migrant children in government custody. The Senate also added in more money than the House for border enforcement agencies and for more immigration judges.

Lindsey Graham confronted with the ghosts of the ‘gang of 8’
“We would have a very different situation” had that bill passed, acting DHS secretary says

If Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham is looking for strategies on moving his immigration overhaul legislation, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan presented one possible path: Graham’s old work with the “gang of eight” that produced a bill the Senate passed in 2013 with a veto-proof majority. 

At a hearing Tuesday before Graham’s panel, McAleenan said the current border situation now wouldn’t be as bad if the bipartisan gang of eight compromise of 2013 — which passed the Democratic Senate 68-32 but was never taken up by the Republican House — had become law.

Why Ken Cuccinelli is persona non grata in the Senate
Trump tapped the Senate Conservatives Fund president in acting capacity for Citizenship and Immigration Services

President Donald Trump’s decision to appoint Ken Cuccinelli to lead the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in only an acting capacity should be no surprise considering that he would appear to have no shot of Senate confirmation.

That is owed to his tenure as president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee with a long track record of working against incumbent Republican senators, challenging them from the party’s right flank.

No funding for Trump’s border wall is included in House Homeland Security funding bill
The bill does not provide any funding for additional Border Patrol Agents, Border Patrol checkpoints or border barriers

A draft of the House Appropriations Committee’s fiscal 2020 Homeland Security spending bill does not provide any funding for additional Border Patrol Agents, Border Patrol checkpoints or border barriers — A decision that is sure to invite opposition from Republicans and President Donald Trump.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol would receive $151 million for 1,846 new positions which include hiring more CBP officers who man the border entry ports and mission support personnel. But the money contains no new money for Border Patrol officers, who actually monitor the border between official ports of entry.

Trump wants 400 TSA agents sent to the border. Democrats say that may hurt morale
Lawmakers worry high TSA turnover could increase after the White House said it was sending agents to the southwest border

Democrats raised concerns on Tuesday that the Transportation Security Administration’s ongoing problems with high turnover rates could worsen after the Trump administration announced it would send 400 TSA workers to the southwest border to help with the migrant surge.

“I think what I see now is continued manufacturing of a crisis, to the detriment of TSA and some other agencies, which should not be,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., House Homeland Security chairman, said at a Tuesday hearing on the TSA workforce crisis. “I’m concerned that we are now putting airports at risk potentially, as well as the traveling public at risk in general, by taking people away from airports and sending them to the border.”

Graham aims to advance border security bill in early June
Bill would change asylum laws and expand detention facilities to address a surge of migrants arriving at the southwest border

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said he is willing to work with Republicans and Democrats to craft a limited immigration bill in short order that would change asylum laws and expand detention facilities in an attempt to address the surge of migrants arriving at the southwest border.

Speaking with a sense of urgency, the South Carolina Republican said at a news conference Wednesday that he will introduce a bill later this week that would: require immigrants to apply for U.S. asylum in their home countries instead of at the border; hire more immigration judges to reduce the case backlog that already exceeds 800,000; and modify a court settlement that currently limits the amount of time migrant children can be held in detention while they await adjudication.

New budget request for border crisis could come this week
Some funding would be for migrant processing facilities

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan told lawmakers Tuesday that the White House is planning to send Congress a supplemental funding request this week to address the high volume of migrants arriving at the southern border.

“The supplemental funding request will address critical humanitarian requirements and help ensure that the crisis is managed in an operationally effective, humane and safe manner,” McAleenan said.

‘Remain in Mexico’ policy for migrants creating ambiguity, fear
Trump administration wants to expand program beyond San Diego-Tijuana corridor

Nearly four months ago, the Trump administration launched its “Remain in Mexico” program, under which migrants seeking entry to the United States must stay in Mexico while their immigration court hearings go on north of the border. The government announced this week that it intended to expand the program beyond where it began in the San Diego-Tijuana corridor.

But U.S. immigration lawyers say the program is mainly leaving them confused on how best to help their clients, and leaving their clients fearful about their safety in Mexico.

Trump's 2020 budget seeks 7 percent rise in Secret Service funding for 2020 campaign
The budget summary says it seeks to hire 177 additional special agents, officers and professional staff for the agency

President Donald Trump's fiscal 2020 budget proposal seeks $2.3 billion to fund the U.S. Secret Service, an increase of 7 percent over the estimated spending for 2019 and some 15 percent above actual spending for 2018, according to budget documents released this week.

Much of the extra money in discretionary budget authority would go to protecting presidential candidates during the 2020 campaign and for the two national political conventions, plus hiring more agents, and more money for research and development and "protective equipment and technology." 

Ph.D. student faces deportation to Liberia, where she has never lived
Trump administration has announced DED program will end March 31

Yatta Kiazolu moved to Los Angeles from Delaware to pursue her dream of obtaining a Ph.D. in history at UCLA.

But as she approaches her final year of the program, her dreams of walking across the stage with her degree in hand seem further and further away as her temporary visa status will expire at the end of this month. And she could be deported to Liberia, a country in which she has never lived, or even visited.

Senate rejects Trump’s emergency declaration on border
President has promised to veto the joint resolution

On this day in the Senate, no man a king, not even President Donald Trump.

The Senate passed a resolution Thursday to terminate Trump’s national emergency declaration that would have allowed him to redirect up to $6.7 billion from other Cabinet departments toward constructing his long-promised wall on the southwestern border.

Homeland Secretary to face tough questions from Democrats
Democrats are expected to grill Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the House Homeland Security Committee hearing

Democrats are expected to grill Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the House Homeland Security Committee hearing Wednesday about President Donald Trump’s immigration and border security policies. It is the first time Nielsen has appeared before the Democratically controlled House.

Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to reallocate more than $6 billion from other departments to construct a border wall will likely take center stage. Senators are poised to vote soon on a resolution to block the national emergency, following the House's vote last week to block Trump's emergency declaration.

FEMA administrator departs, says it’s ‘time for me to go home to my family’
Brock Long departs after questions about use of government vehicles

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long, who during his tenure had to repay the government for using vehicles in a nonofficial capacity, resigned his position Wednesday.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement that Deputy Administrator Pete Gaynor will become the acting administrator.

Trump extends order on asylum seekers at southwest border
The order bars migrants who arrive outside points of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border from requesting asylum

President Donald Trump issued a proclamation Thursday evening that extends for 90 days his November order barring migrants who arrive outside points of entry at the U.S. Mexico border from requesting asylum. The courts have blocked implementation of the first order.

In his new proclamation, Trump declared that the U.S. immigration and asylum system remains “in a crisis as a consequence of the mass migration of aliens across the border between the United States and Mexico.”

Family separation blasted by both parties at oversight hearing
“I think what we’re really talking about is state sponsored child abuse, and I would go as far as to say kidnapping,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky

Democrats on a House subcommittee demanded answers Thursday from Health and Human Services officials regarding how many children were actually separated from parents during the “zero tolerance” policy last spring at the southern border, after a report found that thousands more children could have been separated than the 2,700 previously reported.

“What’s been happening is more than irresponsible and sloppy. I think what we’re really talking about is state sponsored child abuse, and I would go as far as to say kidnapping,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., said at a hearing by the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.