Arizona Dem Kyrsten Sinema joins GOP in push for program that would quickly deport migrants without valid asylum claims

Saturday, July 20, 2019
By Paul Martin

By Adam Shaw
Fox News
7/20/2019

Freshman Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., was one of a number of Democrats to join Republican colleagues this week who called for the implementation of a pilot program that would work to quickly identify and deport migrants at the border who are judged not to have a valid asylum claim.

Sinema, along with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Doug Jones, D-Ala., joined Republicans in writing to President Trump urging the implementation of Operation Safe Return — a Department of Homeland Security pilot program that that would focus on quickly identifying, processing and returning family units who do not have valid asylum claims in the U.S.

“Through this program, we expect that we can meet our commitments to humanitarian protections while ensuring proper efficiency, timeliness, order, and fairness in the credible fear screening process,” the letter said. “We also expect that Operation Safe Return will help us examine current process deficiencies, identify required increases in capacity, and understand the drivers of migration.”

The program would allow DHS to remove family units within 15 days who are determined not to meet the criteria of “credible fear” of returning home necessary for an asylum claim. Those who are initially deemed to meet the “credible fear” criteria can often have their asylum cases go on for years.

The pilot program would have Border Patrol conduct interviews with migrants within three days of them being encountered between ports of entry, and have them processed and given a medical exam within four days. The “credible fear” interview shold occur within nine days.

“This pilot program would apply to families who aren’t claiming ‘credible fear,’ which of course is the first threshold in seeking asylum,” Sinema told The Arizona Republic. “If someone says ‘I left my country because I can’t make a living,’ (or) ‘it’s hard to take care of my family’ — that’s what we call an economic migrant.”

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