Johnson, Collins reintroduce sweeping immigration abuse laws

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Mike Johnson (LA-04) and House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins (GA-27) reintroduced the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act (H.R. 3360) to address and counter widespread abuse of our existing immigration laws.

The bill makes a number of necessary improvements to prevent fraud and abuse in the asylum system and to ensure it is reserved for those truly fleeing persecution from their home countries.

“The massive increases in apprehensions by CBP only further illustrate the ongoing humanitarian and border security catastrophe at our Southern border. It is imperative we take a wholistic approach to address the urgent issues in our immigration system and that starts with addressing the widespread abuse of our asylum laws,” said Johnson via an emailed statement. “My legislation seeks to combat the root cause of asylum fraud by ensuring its programs are used not by those seeking to illegally enter the country but for those truly in need of refuge.”

In just the first six months of Fiscal Year 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) made more apprehensions at the Southern border than in the entirety of Fiscal Year 2018.

“Americans have dedicated resources for victims of persecution, and we can’t allow fraud or abuse to siphon resources from those vulnerable men, women and children. The Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act would help prevent frivolous asylum claims and address the border crisis at the same time,” said Collins. “I’m grateful for Congressman Johnson’s leadership in introducing this compassionate, commonsense legislation.”

Key Components of the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act

Strengthens asylum process to protect legitimate claims and prevent fraud:

  • Improves Credible Fear Standard: H.R. 3360 enhances the very minimal standard under current law which allows aliens apprehended at the border to claim a “credible fear of persecution” only to be released into our communities while their asylum claims go through the very lengthy immigration court process. The vast majority of asylum claims do not meet the standards needed and are later denied when their case is heard before a U.S. immigration judge. H.R. 3360 requires aliens to demonstrate a credible fear of persecution that is more probable than not, in order to curtail fraud and help ensure only legitimate claims are approved.
  • Terminates Asylum for Those Who Return Home: The bill requires termination of asylum status where an asylee returns to their home country from which they sought asylum, absent a change in country conditions. Being so fearful you must claim asylum and then willingly returning to that country absent change contradicts logic.

Reforms immigration parole law to prevent executive overreach:

The bill specifies the precise instances in which the DHS parole program can be used. The Obama administration strained the parole program, going well beyond the intent of Congress, to admit entire classes of otherwise inadmissible aliens and release large numbers of detained aliens. Action is needed to prevent such abuses in the future.

Provides asylum seekers the ability to apply for benefits from safe third countries:

The bill grants DHS the power to remove asylum seekers to safe third countries where they would have access to a full and fair procedure to apply for asylum without the current necessity for bilateral agreements with those countries. This would allow the return of apprehended Central Americans to Mexico, for example, where they could apply for asylum.

Protects taxpayer dollars:

While the Immigration and Nationality Act has long prohibited taxpayer-funded attorneys for aliens in removal proceedings, the Obama administration used taxpayer dollars to pay lawyers for unaccompanied alien minors. The bill makes the prohibition more explicit so that no administration can disregard the law and provide taxpayer-funded counsel to unlawful immigrants.