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Changing human trafficking law could lead to expedited deportations

U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar said a 2008 human trafficking law is the reason woman and children immigrants are being released from federal custody.

The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 distinguishes Mexican's from Other Than Mexican's of OTM's.

Cuellar said tweeking that law could save the U.S. millions of dollars.

It costs about $500 a day to house undocumented immigrants in detention centers and as they overcrowd 500 family units are released everyday in South Texas.

"If you multiply that by 30 days you are talking about 15,000 individuals that will be released in the South Texas area that will be released in the month of July," Cuellar said.

Cuellar said there is a way to stop this immigration surge.

"Instead of detaining them here for long periods of time it would be cheaper to quickly screen them take care of them while they are here and remove them," Cuellar said.

He wants to change the removal process for OTM's.

"If you are a family unit or you are a child you are basically going to get a notice to appear or a permiso as they call it and you're in," Cuellar said.

Right now, 25 flights full of adult OTM's are deported from South Texas to Central America each week.

Cuellar said woman and children family units could be on those flights if the 2008 law is amended.

"This doesn't have to be an 800 page piece of legislation, all we have to do is tweek the 2008 human trafficking law," he said.

Cuellar said building more holding facilities in South Texas, hiring staff to process and paying for flights back home would be cheaper than shipping immigrants across the country for processing.

Once immigrants see the U.S. will not catch and release anymore, Cuellar said illegal crossing numbers will ultimately drop.

Cuellar said he does want to provide protection for immigrants who qualify for asylum, who have credible fear or are victims of human trafficking.

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