Bipartisan bill aims to combat humanitarian crisis at border

New border bill prioritizes migrant children

(CNN) – The U.S.-Mexico border remains a high priority in Washington. Now there’s a bipartisan bill aimed at addressing the influx of migrants.

It’s called the HUMANE Act, and it focuses on addressing humanitarian issues for people crossing the border.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, and Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-TX, teamed up for the bill.

“Everybody pretty much understands what the problem is, and understands that this is going to get worse and worse and worse until we act,” Cornyn said Thursday during a news conference he held with Cuellar.

The measure will keep families together, call for more Homeland Security personnel and create more processing centers where needed.

"If somebody has a better idea – we've always said that – give it to us,” Cuellar said. “And if there's a critic out there, then tell us what's better."

The bill also improves care for migrant children by prioritizing their claims for relief in immigration courts and providing safeguards to prevent them from being in the custody of potentially dangerous people.

"I understand in the absence of legislation, the administration is trying to figure something that will have an impact,” Cornyn said. “But the truth is, this legislation will have a far greater impact than anything that's been proposed by the administration."

The bill would not include charging asylum seekers an application fee, something President Donald Trump suggested in a memo sent this week.

The Trump administration this week also asked Congress for $4.5 billion in emergency funds.

Two Homeland Security officials told CNN the department will start a DNA testing pilot program at two border locations next week, with the objective of establishing family relationships among migrants.

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