Immigration agents rip GOP border bill

The National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council, a group representing 12,000 immigration agents, is criticizing a new House GOP border security bill that it says does not do enough to combat illegal border crossings.

The group released a statement Thursday raising concerns about legislation drafted by Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) that is due on the House floor next week.

{mosads}Kenneth Palinkas, the council’s president, said the 72-page bill does nothing to stop illegal border crossers from turning themselves into the authorities and gaining asylum.

“Almost anyone at all can call themselves an asylum-seeker and get in; it’s a global joke. It’s not border security if anyone can recite the magic words and get waved right on in,” Palinkas said in a statement.

Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador crossed the Southwest border in the Rio Grande Valley last year seeking asylum, putting a strain on federal agencies.  

“Those who arrived in the 2014 border run are still here, often living on U.S. support and even applying for U.S. jobs,” Palinkas said.

He criticized the bill for not doing enough to implement an exit-entry tracking system based on biometric data.  

“We admit individuals who have no business being admitted the United States, whether public charges, health risks, or radicalized Islamists, and in large numbers. It is unfair to employees, unfair to taxpayers, and unfair to anyone concerned about immigration security,” he said.

A House GOP aide disputed the claim that McCaul’s bill delays the implementation of a biometric exit tracking program, noting the legislation requires the secretary of Homeland Security to put one in place at the nation’s busiest ports within two years and all ports of entry within five years.

“The bill enforces penalties on the Department of Homeland Security political appointees if the terms of the bill are not met,” the aide said.

McCaul says his bill does not deal with asylum rules, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee.

“The Committee on Homeland Security does not have jurisdiction over interior enforcement, so the ‘Secure Our Borders First’ bill deals solely with the problem at our southern, northern, and maritime borders — a problem that has plagued this country for 25 years,” he said in a statement.

“The bill matches resources to needs putting fencing where fencing is needed and technology where technology is needed. My constituents in my home district and my home state of Texas spoke loud and clear. They want the border secured,” he said. 


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