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TOMORROW: Graham Asylum Abuse Fix Set for Senate Judiciary Vote

WASHINGTON – Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) will lead consideration of his legislation to address the border crisis, the Secure and Protect Act of 2019. The legislation is designed to close gaps in current law which have led to a massive influx of migrants from Northern Triangle countries – Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador – who are traveling to the United States, seeking Border Patrol agents, turning themselves in, and claiming asylum. 

“The asylum process is being abused,” said Graham.  “On Thursday, the Judiciary Committee will do our job and vote on this bill.” 

Highlights of the Graham legislation: 

  • Asylum applications from residents of the Northern Triangle or countries that border it would be filed at refugee processing centers – not in the United States. These centers would be established in Central America and Mexico. 
  • Modify U.S. law to allow families to be held together for longer than the 20 days currently allowed by the Flores decision.    
  • Appoint 500 new immigration judges to reduce the current backlog of cases.

  • Unaccompanied minors (UAC) from Central America would be treated the same as minors from Canada and Mexico. This would allow the United States to return all UAC to their country of origin after screening.  
“Somebody is going to lead around here to change the laws and it will be the Judiciary Committee,” continued Graham. “The asylum issue at our border is a relatively new problem and the current process used to handle asylum claims is being abused. My legislation addresses this problem.”  

Graham noted that under current law, migrants traveling with children can only be detained for 20 days before they must be released, even if their asylum or other immigration claims are still pending. And with a massive backlog of asylum cases overloading the system, the majority of asylum petitions cannot be processed in time. In turn, they are released into the United States free and clear. 
Senate Judiciary Committee  
Debate and Vote on Graham Asylum Abuse Fix Legislation 
10:00 a.m.
Thursday, August 1, 2019 
Senate Judiciary Committee
Dirksen Senate Office Building
Room 226
Washington, D.C.