Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to introduce a legislative package that would change the country’s asylum laws in an effort to stem the influx of migrants crossing the southern border.
The South Carolina Republican revealed his immigration plan during an interview Sunday.
“I’m tired of talking about this problem. I want to fix it. I think all Americans should want both parties to fix this problem,” Graham told Fox News. “The president has correctly identified the crisis at the border, now it’s time to have a legislative solution. You need to change our laws for this to stop, so I’ll be introducing a package — and hopefully with Democratic support — that will change our asylum laws. Ninety percent of the people apply for asylum never make it, so the standard needs to change.”
Graham said he plans to put together the legislative package once Congress returns to Washington, D.C., from recess on April 29. The Senate Judiciary Committee, which Graham helms, will then mark up the measure, he said.
“Doing what we’re doing is not working,” Graham said. “The crisis has to come to an end and the only way to bring it to an end is to change our laws.”
In addition to altering the asylum laws, Graham raised issues with the 1997 Flores settlement, which prohibits the federal government from holding children in family detention centers for more than 20 days.
He also cited a “cork” in a federal trafficking law that prohibits immigration authorities from sending migrant children back to non-contiguous countries.
“So the only place that we can send a child back is to Mexico and Canada,” Graham said. “We need to be sending these kids back to Central America where they come from.”
Federal immigration authorities have warned there has been a surge in family units and unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border, which has overwhelmed the country’s immigration system and put a strain on resources.
In March, federal law enforcement apprehended 92,000 illegally crossing the border and encountered nearly 11,000 approaching ports of entry but who were turned away. Fiscal 2019 is on pace for the highest level of illegal immigration in a decade.
“You can’t look at the numbers and deny that it is a crisis,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
President Trump has warned that the flow of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is a humanitarian and national security crisis and has taken unilateral steps designed to curb illegal immigration. The president declared a national emergency in February to divert federal dollars to build a border wall, after Congress refused to provide the billions in dollars Trump sought for the project, and recently threatened to close the southern border, though he backed down from taking such action.
Several of the president’s actions focused on asylum-seekers, however, have been blocked by the federal courts.
The White House most recently expanded the fight over illegal immigration to sanctuary cities, floating a proposal to release detained illegal immigrants into those areas.
On Friday, Trump said his administration is giving “strong considerations” to that plan, but the White House has also been urging Congress to come together and fix the nation’s immigration laws.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, one of the Democrats running for president in 2020, embraced the president’s threat to let detained illegal immigrants into sanctuary cities.
“You can’t threaten somebody with something they are not afraid of. And we are not afraid of diversity in the state of Washington. We relish it,” Inslee said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Other Democrats were outraged by the proposal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said such a plan is “unworthy of the presidency.”
Author: Melissa Quinn
Source: Washingtonexaminer: Lindsey Graham prepping legislative package to change asylum laws