Oddly, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema Leads Push for Pilot Program to Streamline Removal of Illegal Immigrants

Sunday, July 21, 2019
By Paul Martin

The Democratic freshman Senator from Arizona is proving to be a pleasant surprise.

By Shane Trejo
BigLeaguePolitics.com
Jul 20, 2019

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is leading the charge to implement a pilot program on the U.S. southern border that will expedite the process of removing illegal alien families who do not qualify for asylum.

Sinema joined a bipartisan group of nine senators who sent a letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Wednesday describing a program they call “Operation Safe Return” that they believe can help fix the national emergency that has resulted from the unprecedented flood of third-world migrants at the border.

“This pilot program would apply to families who aren’t claiming ‘credible fear,’ which of course is the first threshold in seeking asylum,” Sinema said to 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.”

Under Sinema’s proposed program, migrant families determined to be ineligible for asylum could be booted after 15 days by the Department of Homeland Security. This would help alleviate the strain on the system, as migrant detention facilities are severely overstrained.

Unlike some other Democrats, Sinema is focused on finding solutions rather than scoring partisan political points. She worked on the program alongside Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, after meeting at the White House with officials from the Trump administration.

The letter was also signed by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Joe Manchin (D-WV), James Lankford (R-OK), Doug Jones (D-AL), Michael Enzi (R-WY), John Barrasso (R-WY), and John Cornyn (R-TX). They are expected to pitch the program in person to Secretary McAleenan in the upcoming weeks.

“We have worked with your agencies to develop a streamlined process to rapidly, accurately, and fairly determine those family units that do not have a valid legal claim and safely return those individuals to their home countries,” the letter reads.

“The process would use existing authorities, but surge necessary resources to a limited, particular location on the southern border,” it adds.

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