There’s a crisis at our Southern Border. A surge of individuals and families are crossing illegally into the United States from Mexico knowing that they can exploit our broken immigration laws to gain entrance.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is proposing immediate action to stop the crossings and address the backlog of pending immigration cases. The question is how Congress will respond?
In April, nearly 100,000 people were apprehended at the border trying to cross illegally. The U.S. is on track for more than 1 million apprehensions this fiscal year.
As we’ve seen, there’s a big increase in adults crossing with children – even if they are not related – because they know entrance is all but guaranteed thanks to loopholes in our immigration laws.
Not only is this dishonest, but it’s dangerous for kids who become victims of human trafficking.
Yesterday, Senator Graham introduced legislation addressing some of the immediate needs of the crisis.
Graham's bill would:
Require that asylum applications from residents of the Northern Triangle and contiguous countries be filed at refugee processing centers – not in the United States. This would also include establishing processing centers in the Northern Triangle and Mexico.
Modify U.S. law to increase the time that families could be held together while making their asylum claims from up to 20 days to 100 days.
Hire 500 new immigration judges to reduce the backlog of cases.
Treat unaccompanied minors from Central America the same as minors from Canada and Mexico, so that the U.S. can return them to their country of origin after screening.
Senator Graham explained that this would send a clear message back to the Central American countries that we are closing loopholes in the law:
“Word is out on the streets in Central America that if you bring a child with you – regardless of whether or not it is actually your child – America’s laws can be manipulated to allow you to stay in the United States.
“We must change the underlying broken laws to stop what I think is an invasion at our southern border.
“This legislation will help protect children by ensuring asylum claims are filed from their home area, not after a thousand mile journey.”
The White House is expected to announce a plan to address the border crisis and overhaul our immigration system placing emphasis on merit over family ties.
The stakes are high. At risk are our national security, public health and safety, economic interests, and the safety and security of those coming to our nation.
Now, is the time for our nation to address illegal immigration. We have urgency and solutions. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill just need the will to get it done.