October 26, 2018 – Restoring the U.S. Asylum System
What is the problem?
More than 7,000 migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are currently heading towards the United States border with Mexico expecting to the United States to roll out the welcome mat when they arrive. These individuals have intentionally chosen to disregard our immigration laws and exploit deficiencies in our asylum system that will allow many to gain entry and work authorization, even though they do not qualify.
How did we get here?
For decades, the federal government has failed to fully enforce our immigration laws, and Congress has failed to address the incentives that drive illegal immigration. During the Obama Administration, the asylum program became one of the most abused in our immigration system.
Current law provides asylum to individuals who are, or fear, being persecuted by their home government based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group, or political opinion. Sadly, the process is rampant with fraud and abuse. Now, word is out – simply get to the border, claim a fear of persecution, and enjoy years of freedom in America while waiting to see an immigration judge. Failure to enforce our laws has become an incentive and resulted in a massive increase in asylum seekers. In 2006, 5,300 individuals claimed asylum. In 2016, there were 94,000 claims.
Despite President Trump’s efforts to stop them at the border, it is unlikely that many of the 7,000 in the current caravan will be turned away. And there are already reports of a second caravan organizing to make a similar journey.
What am I doing about it?
Last year, I supported the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act, H.R.391, which would reduce fraud in our asylum system while ensuring that only individuals who truly qualify for relief receive it. Congress must also codify President Trump’s executive actions to end catch-and-release policies and eliminate all other incentives to illegally enter the United States.
I also introduced the Fund and Complete the Border Wall Act, H.R.6657, to finish building a wall along our southern border and to provide much-needed assistance to our Border Patrol agents.
I will continue fighting to enforce our current immigration laws and to ensure our border is secure.
You can follow the progress of both bills by visiting https://www.congress.gov.
What are they saying?
"It is critical that Pres. Trump do everything within his power to prevent these Central American migrants from entering the United States. If they make it into the U.S., they'll never be removed, and it will lead to an endless stream of caravans in the future. But Congress also needs to take responsibility. It can do so by passing H.R. 391 and closing the loopholes within our asylum process that encourage people from around the world to make the dangerous journey to the U.S.-Mexico border." – Chris Chmielenski, Deputy Director, NumbersUSA
“Securing our borders should always be a top priority, and reversing previous years of lax enforcement to re-establish stability in our immigration system is the only way to ensure the legal path to citizenship is followed again. Decades of an exposed and broken border have not only encouraged more immigrants to enter the United States illegally, but have also led to an increase in human and drug trafficking. Making matters worse, terrorists have been known to utilize weaknesses in immigration laws to gain entry and carry out their attacks. My legislation ensures our asylum programs are used not for the ill-intent of bad actors, but for those truly in need of refuge.” – Congressman Mike Johnson (LA-04)
“The surge of Central American migrants seeking to enter the U.S. illegally at our southern border puts a strain on manpower and resources. It has also exposed loopholes in our nation’s immigration laws that are being exploited by smugglers and others seeking to game the system. The Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act makes a number of changes to address these problems while also maintaining our country’s historic generosity toward those fleeing persecution in their home countries. I am pleased that the House Judiciary Committee has approved this bill and others to improve our nation’s immigration system and urge the House to take them up when Congress returns in a few weeks.” – Chairman Bob Goodlatte, House Judiciary Committee