Graham unveils bill to end asylum claims at US border, return minors to home countries

Wednesday, May 15, 2019
By Paul Martin

By Adam Shaw
Fox News
5/15/2019

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Wednesday unveiled a bill that would end asylum claims from Central America at the border and return unaccompanied minors to their home countries — a targeted effort to tackle the escalating migration crisis.

“This is a nightmare for smugglers,” Graham said. “This is a godsend to stop the humanitarian disaster.”

Graham’s bill is designed specifically to deal with loopholes he says are encouraging migrants from Central America to make the treacherous journey north and bring children with them. He pointed in particular to the 20-day limit for authorities to hold unaccompanied minors and families before having to release them into the 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 end asylum claims at the U.S. border for migrants from the Northern Triangle of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Instead, those applications would be filed at refugee processing centers set up in the Northern Triangle and Mexico. The legislation would also allow unaccompanied minors to be returned to their country of origin, which Graham said would be treating them the same as minors from Canada and Mexico.

His bill would extend the time families can be held together from 20 days to 100 days to help allow claims to be filed without families being released into the U.S. It would also add an additional 500 immigration judges to deal with the backlog of asylum claims.

Until these loopholes are dealt with, Graham said, other border security measures and funding are pointless — including President Trump’s call for a wall on the southern border.

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