A bill that would block and deport immigrants with sex crime convictions from the United States was introduced in the House on Wednesday by Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.
"We are witnessing a border crisis of historic proportions," Stefanik wrote in a statement. "The Biden administration's open-border policies are allowing the highest number of illegal border crossings through our southern border in over 30 years. We must work to ensure sex criminals are stopped and deported immediately for the safety of our citizens. Border security is national security, and I am proud to work to keep our communities safe."
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, first introduced the bill in the Senate earlier this month.
Known as The Better Enforcement of Grievous Offenses by unNaturalized Emigrants (BE GONE) Act, the legislation would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to add sexual assault and aggravated sexual violence as a disqualifying crime for foreign applicants for residence in the U.S., and deportable for non-citizen resident immigrants, The Gazette reported.
"A key challenge and easy fix we must address immediately is ensuring sexual predators and criminals are identified, stopped and deported," Ernst, a survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence, said. "This measure is a common-sense solution to modernize the immigration system and combat sexual violence and those seeking to exploit our laws."
The Stefanik bill also adds sexual abuse to the crimes that would be included in the definition of a disqualifying crime.
The legislation is the latest effort by Republicans in Congress to firm up immigration laws at a time when the U.S. continues to face a severe crisis at the southern border, with more than 1.7 million migrant encounters in Fiscal Year 2021.
The House version of the bill comes on the heels of the arrest earlier this month of a Congolese national for the alleged rape of a woman on a train in the Philadelphia area.
The suspect already has a criminal record and had overstayed his student visa, but he was not ordered out of the country, because his misdemeanor for sexual abuse was not a crime that made him ineligible for remaining in the U.S.
Stefanik's bill would change that so that such a crime would also make immigrants inadmissible and deportable.
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