Congresswoman Debbie Lesko Introduces Six Immigration Bills to Address Ongoing Border Crisis

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Washington, DC, July 22, 2019 | comments

Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (AZ-08) has introduced six immigration bills to address some of the root causes of the border crisis. With the large influx of migrants crossing the border into America, these bills will reform our asylum system, increase the number of immigration judges and detention beds, and allow dangerous aliens to be detained. Congresswoman Lesko released the following statement.

“We are experiencing an unprecedented national security and humanitarian crisis at our southern border. In Arizona, we see the effects of this crisis every day. Congress’ failure to work together to secure our border and fix our broken immigration system is unacceptable. These six bills represent some of the immediate steps we can take to restore order at our border. Many of my Democratic colleagues have said publicly that they support these individual initiatives. I hope they will join me in cosponsoring these bills to help end the crisis once and for all.”

1. Increase Credible Fear Standard—H.R. 3855

  • This bill increases the integrity in the asylum system by increasing the credible fear standard for asylum claims.
  • Due to our current, outdated system, very few individuals who are granted credible fear are ultimately granted asylum.
  • Legitimate asylum claims are intended for vulnerable women, children, and men who have been persecuted or have a true fear for their lives or persecution in their home country.
  • The recent dramatic increase of frivolous asylum claims at our southern border is overwhelming our system and making vulnerable people who actually need asylum wait longer for that protection.

2. Expand Safe Third Country—H.R. 3856

  • This bill permits the Department of Homeland Security Secretary to designate a country to be a safe third country and remove asylum seekers to safe third countries where they could apply for asylum without the need for bilateral agreements.
  • This would allow asylum seekers from Central America to be returned to Mexico and claim asylum there as long as the Secretary designates Mexico to be a safe third country.
  • Currently, Congress has the authority to designate another country to be a ‘safe third country’.
    • The U.S. and Canada have this agreement.

3. Give the Resources to Enforce our Laws—H.R. 3858

  • This bill authorizes funding for the amount of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bed space that the Secretary of Homeland Security determines necessary to enforce the immigration laws.
  • ICE is currently asking for 54,000 beds. Congress has only appropriated funds to support 45,000 beds.

4. Reduce the Immigration Court Backlog—H.R. 3859

  • This bill provides an additional 100 immigration judges to reduce the asylum backlog.
  • There is currently a huge backlog for asylum seekers waiting to have their cases heard. Adding more judges will allow these cases to be adjudicated faster and help reduce the backlog.

5. End Frivolous Asylum Applications—H.R. 3857

  • This bill states that if the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General determine that an alien has knowingly made a frivolous application for asylum, the alien will be permanently ineligible for asylum.
  • It also adds more factors that can be used by DHS to figure out if someone is frivolously applying for asylum.
  • DHS would be permitted to conduct necessary investigations surrounding asylum claims and their supporting documents to cut down on asylum fraud.

6. Permit Detention of Dangerous Aliens—H.R. 3860

  • Right now, we are unable to remove an alien even if they have committed crimes. This bill will keep dangerous criminal immigrants off our streets.
  • The bill specifies that a small segment of criminal immigrants may be detained for extended period, including dangerous criminals and individuals who are threats to our national security. Their cases can be reviewed every six months.
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