WASHINGTON, February 3, 2021 — United States Representative Mike Johnson (LA-04) today introduced two bills to strengthen border security and protection:
The Securing Our Borders and Wilderness Act will close a Wilderness Act loophole which bars border security officials from entering certain designated “wilderness” areas. The loophole has left approximately 96 linear miles of our Southern border free of law enforcement.
The Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act will help ensure the U.S. asylum system is not abused but instead reserved only for persons legitimately fleeing persecution or imminent harm in their home countries. More information on this legislation can be found below.
“America is the most compassionate nation in the world, but our immigration system is broken. Reforming that system is a job for Congress, and any balanced legislative approach has to include measures to strengthen border security,” Johnson said. “These bills will help make our southern border less porous and help ensure that our asylum system is reserved for those truly seeking refuge in America from violence or persecution.”
“To date, the White House has yet to offer any proposals for Congress to consider that would improve border security, so it will be up to Republicans in Congress to make sure that this key element of immigration reform is represented in any future legislative package.”
The Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act helps prevent abuses which run rampant in the asylum process:
Improves Credible Fear standard: elevates the minimal standard under current law which allows illegal immigrants apprehended at the border to claim a “credible fear of persecution” by requiring immigrants 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.
Provides asylum seekers the ability to apply for benefits from safe third countries: The bill grants the Department of Homeland Security 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.
Terminates asylum for those who return home: The bill requires termination of asylum status when an immigrant returns to their home country from which they sought asylum, absent a change in country conditions.
Congressman Johnson serves on the House Judiciary Committee and as Vice Chairman of the House Republican Conference.