There is a full-blown crisis at the southern border. Just last month, 144,000 people entered our country illegally, the majority of which were families with children. Due to loopholes in our asylum system and a lack of necessary detention space, most of these people were quickly released into American communities. The inevitable result is that more keep coming each month.
President Trump is doing all he can. Thanks to his threat to impose tariffs, Mexico has agreed to take unprecedented actions to help stop our crisis. They have agreed to ramp up their border security efforts, including the deployment of 6,000 National Guard troops to their southern border.
Furthermore, this agreement is designed to reduce abuse of our asylum system. Mexico has agreed to take back Central Americans who have come into our country and applied for asylum, and have them remain in Mexico while we consider their requests.
Even more importantly, the final language of the agreement may include some sort of provision that requires asylum seekers to request protection in the first safe country they arrive in. Adoption of this provision, similar to one in place with Canada, will eliminate the practice of migrants bypassing countries where they will be beyond the reach of their own governments.
The purpose of asylum is to protect people who are in peril, not to provide them with the most economically advantageous landing spot. Since the vast majority of migrants are not bon a fide refugees, but rather economic migrants, such a provision would offer a huge deterrent to asylum abuse.
Now it’s Congress’s turn to do its job and actually close the loopholes in our asylum system that are truly driving this crisis. Right now, Mexico has done more to stop this crisis than lawmakers in Washington, as President Trump noted sardonically in a tweet.
Now with our new deal, Mexico is doing more for the USA on Illegal Immigration than the Democrats. In fact, the Democrats are doing NOTHING, they want Open Borders,
which means Illigal Immigration, Drugs and Crime.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 10, 2019
The Senate Judiciary Committee will be voting on South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s new bill to address the asylum loophole-driven border crisis this week.
The bill would require asylum applications to be filed at refugee processing centers in Central America or Mexico; add 500 more immigration judges to handle the backlog of cases; allow families to be held for up to 100 days, rather than 20, while their asylum claims are processed; and allow the U.S. to return unaccompanied minors from Central America to their countries of origin, just like we do those from Canada and Mexico.
These changes — while they can be strengthened through amendments in committee — are essential to stop the crisis. And even better, it is amnesty free, unlike any of Graham’s past bills with immigration enforcement provisions.
However, given the hyper-partisanship of the issue, even if this bill ever passes the Senate (where 60 votes are necessary), advancement in the Democrat-controlled House is next to impossible.
The House has a very different set of priorities when it comes to dealing with immigration, as they have already made clear. While illegal aliens pour across our southern border at a rate of over a hundred thousand a month, exploiting asylum loopholes that ensure catch and release, the House’s focus is on meeting the demands of people who have already demonstrated their disregard for our immigration laws. Their first major immigration action, earlier this month, was passage of a massive amnesty for millions of illegal aliens already here — including those with criminal records.
Even more telling are their spending bill priorities for the next fiscal year. With no sign of the border crisis abating any time soon, the House Appropriations Committee passed a Homeland Security spending bill last week that would cut funding for border security and interior enforcement, as well as completely erase all of President Trump’s executive actions on immigration since he took office.
While Republican lawmakers, the Trump administration, and most Americans are justifiably alarmed at the crisis at the border, congressional Democrats — especially those in the House — have sent an unmistakable signal that they will do nothing to protect the interests or the safety of the American people.
In the meantime, the crisis will rage on. Migrants will continue to risk their lives, and the lives of their children, in an effort to exploit weaknesses in our laws that Congress affirmatively refuses to correct. Communities across the country will continue to bear the fiscal burdens of housing, education, and providing health and other services to a ceaseless flow of bogus asylum claimants.
And, it seems, that’s just the way congressional Democrats want it.
RJ Hauman is director of government relations at Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.