WASHINGTON—Legislation being introduced into the Senate is aimed to close the legal loopholes that allow hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to enter and stay in the United States without a valid asylum claim.
Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) bill, titled “Secure and Protect Act of 2019,” outlines four main fixes. The first is that asylum must be claimed in either the individual’s home country or in Mexico. That will prevent illegal immigrants from gaining access to the United States unless their claim is approved.
Under the current system, if an adult brings a child illegally into the United States and claims asylum, there is a 98 percent chance they will stay indefinitely. In some areas, where the Border Patrol is overwhelmed, fewer than 10 percent of illegal aliens claim asylum, but are still released after 48 to 72 hours.
The bill also provides a fix to the Flores Settlement Agreement, which was expanded by a judge in 2015 and has, in part, contributed to the surge in family units since then. In 2015, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee of the Central District of California said no minor can be held in detention longer than 20 days. Previously, that rule only applied to unaccompanied minors, not those who were part of family units. The result is that families are released within a few days. more here