Graham Unveils Bill to Block Asylum Claims at Border, Return Minors Home
New Bill is a 'nightmare for smugglers' according to Senator
Sen. Lindsey Graham has unveiled a new bill that would stop asylum claims from Central America at the US border and return unaccompanied minors to their home countries.
The new effort to tackle the migration crisis is a "nightmare for smugglers,” Graham said.
“This is a godsend to stop the humanitarian disaster," he added.
The new bill is aimed to deal close up problematic loopholes which are encouraging migrants to embark on a treacherous journey accompanied by children, according to Graham.
He highlighted the 20-day limit for authorities to hold unaccompanied minors and families before being forced to release them into U.S. homeland.
“The word is out on the street in Central America if you bring a minor child with you, your chance of being deported goes to almost zero, your hearing date is years away, and we release you inside the country, and that's the goal of coming,” he said.
The bill would put an end to asylum claims at the U.S. border for migrants from the Northern Triangle of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
The applications would instead be filed at refugee processing centers set up in the Northern Triangle and Mexico.
The legislation would also allow unaccompanied minors to be returned home, which Graham insists would be treating them the same as minors from Canada and Mexico.
Graham's bill would increase the time families can be held together from 20 days to 100 days, allowing them claims to be filed without families being released into the U.S.
To deal with the backlog of asylum claims and additional 500 immigration judges would be added.
But until the loopholes are death with, Graham said border security measures and funding are pointless.
“No matter how high the wall will be built, how many drones you have, no matter how many agents you have in the border, they’ll keep coming because they want to get caught,” he said.
“If we do these four things, then the incentives created by our laws will cease to exist, this humanitarian disaster will begin to repair itself and I am willing to sit down with Democrats and find a way to address the underlying problem in Central America,” he said.
“I am willing to put other immigration ideas on the table to marry up with this but what I am not willing to do is ignore this problem any longer.”
Last month, President Trump called for an overhaul on the US asylum system which he said has been subjected to fraud.
The changes would include a new fee to process asylum applicants, along with the function to swiftly settle applicants' claims while barring them from working in the US while the decision is made.
Trump told Attorney General William Barr and Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan that it was a significant move to address a "crisis" at the border.