Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., unveiled immigration legislation Wednesday that he said would “stop the humanitarian crisis” at the southern border by eliminating the incentive that stoked it.
The measure, targeting a surge of migrants from Central America, calls for doubling the number of immigration judges, allowing those in Immigration Control and Enforcement custody to be held for as long as 100 days, more readily deport unaccompanied children, and require those seeking asylum to do so in their home countries, the Daily Caller reported.
“Under our laws, if you come as a family unit and you come with a minor child, we can only hold the family for 20 days because we don’t want to separate the family,” he said at a news conference, NBC News reported.
“We release the entire family after 20 days. So word is out on the street in Central America that if you bring a minor child with you, your chance of being deported is almost zero, and your hearing date is years away, and we release you inside the country.”
He added his bill would allow for minors to be returned to their countries in a “in a safe and secure way” — and that by hiring 500 new immigration judges, the system could deal with an asylum application backlog of some 900,000 applications, NBC News reported.
“To those who want to give more money to Central America: It won’t stop the problem,” Graham told reporters, the Daily Caller reported. “They’re going to keep coming to the United States because life is better here than it is there, and no amount of money is going to stop people from coming.”
“If you do these four things, then the incentives that’s created by our laws will cease to exist,” he said. “This humanitarian disaster will begin to repair itself.”
Graham’s plan follows by a day an immigration plan drafted by Trump aide Stephen Miller and adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, getting a mixed reception from Republican senators.
Graham said Wednesday he’s willing to work with other Republicans, as well as Democrats, to reach a deal on immigration, as long as his four core ideas were incorporated.
“I’m willing to put other immigration ideas to marry up with this,” Graham said Wednesday, NBC News reported.
"Until you change these magnets, these laws, no wall is going to stop the flow -- I think he got that," Graham said of his administration-backed legislation, Bloomberg News reported.
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