The group, led by Republican Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, was en route back to the U.S. Monday afternoon after visiting undisclosed locations in Guatemala and Honduras, GOP sources confirmed.
Granger heads a working group of House Republicans appointed by Speaker John Boehner to address the border crisis. The delegation she led consisted of about four or five Republicans who are members of the working group and two House Democrats.
The speaker’s border working group is scheduled to update House Republicans on their overall progress Tuesday morning during a regularly scheduled weekly meeting of the majority conference.
The group is not yet ready to recommend specific legislative action to stem the tide of the thousands of children, mainly from Central America, who have streamed across border illegally in the hopes of being granted the right to remain in the U.S. indefinitely. But Republicans expect at least some of their recommendations to be turned into legislation that receives a vote before the House adjourns for a five-week summer break at the end of July.
Steve Dutton, a spokesman for Granger, said that one such item that could receive immediate consideration is a proposed change to a law that passed in 2008 that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle blame in part for encouraging the recent mass-migration of illegal immigrant children.
That statute, intended to curb child trafficking, was pass in overwhelming bipartisan fashion by a Democratic Congress and was signed into law by President George W. Bush.
Consideration of President Obama's supplemental request for $3.7 billion in emergency funding to address the border crisis is occurring on a separate track, under the auspices of House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers of Kentucky. However, Granger and other working group members are expected to help shape that package. House Republicans have referred to Obama's request as a “blank check” and made clear that they intend to alter it satisfy their fiscal and policy concerns.
The supplemental, also expected to receive a floor vote before the August recess, is likely to look much different than the president’s initial proposal. House Republicans want the bill to include a greater focus on beefing up border security.