Homeland Security Advisory Council Calls for Solving Border Crisis, Fixing ‘Broken System’

By Miguel Moreno

The Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) proposed over ten emergency changes to the current immigration system in an April 16 report.

“There is a real crisis at our border,” begins the report, referring to the influx of border crossings that has led to overcrowded border facilities. Last month, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) made over 90,000 apprehensions, with more than 53,000 family units. CBP has said that criminals and families with meritless asylum cases are abusing the current immigration system—a system that the report seeks to change.

At the top of the list is establishing Regional Processing Centers (RPCs). Three to four RPCs with the capacity to hold all entering family units should be built at the border, the report reads (pdf). From there, family units would be provided shelter, medical screenings, and security screenings that will verify the relationship between children and adults.

Border Patrol in El Paso, Texas.
In this handout image provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Public Affairs – Visual Communications Division, U.S. Border Patrol agents, including members of U.S. Border Patrol’s BORSTAR teams (in tactical uniforms) provide food, water and medical screening to scores of migrants at a processing center after crossing the international border between the United States and Mexico in El Paso, Texas on March 22, 2019. (Mani Albrecht/U.S. Customs and Border Protection via Getty Images)

Political scientist Ryan McMaken from the Mises Institute believes additional processing centers would help CBP manage the large numbers of migrants. By the looks of it, their resources are limited, he said.

“If you’re going to have a situation where you’re going to require and you want to conduct a business across the border, you would need to be in a situation where you are providing sufficient resources that can be administered quickly,” said McMaken, in an interview with NTD News.

Central Americans were apprehended by Border Patrol agents
A large group of 325 Central Americans were apprehended by Border Patrol agents near Lukeville, Ariz., on Feb. 7, 2019. (CBP)

Roll Back Flores With the ‘Flores Fix’

The Flores Agreement prevents children and their parents from being detained for more than 20 days. CBP has proposed exempting children who are accompanied by a parent or relative from the agreement, ultimately detaining the family unit long enough to be properly processed.

Unaccompanied children would not be affected by the “Flores Fix.” But the report does propose amending the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA).

This act prohibits DHS from returning unaccompanied children to their home country. CBP has recommended that Congress allow children to be returned only if their custodial parent makes the request from their home country.

Immigrant children read and play
Immigrant children read and play at an aid center after being released from U.S. government detention in McAllen, Texas on November 3, 2018. (John Moore/Getty Images)

However, McMaken said these changes would need broad Congressional support, which could be difficult to obtain.

“It’s the sort of thing that Congress needs to be definitive about,” said McMaken. “And it doesn’t sound like it’s the sort of thing you leave an administrative agency up to decide; and it just isn’t clear that Congress is willing to take any action on this right now, simply because it’s in the midst of a political stalemate.”

Other propositions listed in the report were: requiring asylum claims to be made at ports of entries, enabling CBP to take photographs of minors to curb reentries, and adding 300 immigration judges.