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GOP lawmakers lay out border security proposals for DHS

GOP lawmakers lay out border security proposals for DHS
© Greg Nash

A group of House conservatives sent a letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan Thursday that outlined border security policies they hope the department will enact.

The lawmakers — GOP Reps. Michael Cloud (Texas), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Chip RoyCharles (Chip) Eugene RoyWyoming county votes to censure Liz Cheney for Trump impeachment vote GOP divided over Liz Cheney's future Trust between lawmakers reaches all-time low after Capitol riots MORE (Texas), Scott PerryScott Gordon PerryDemocrats to levy fines on maskless lawmakers on House floor Growing number of lawmakers test positive for COVID-19 after Capitol siege New Jersey Democrat thinks she contracted coronavirus during Capitol siege MORE (Pa.), Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceGeorgia elections chief refutes election claims in letter to Congress READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results Pence 'welcomes' efforts of lawmakers to 'raise objections' to Electoral College results MORE (Ga.), Mark GreenMark GreenREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results Here are the Republicans planning to challenge the Electoral College results Republicans press FBI for briefing on efforts by Chinese government operatives to gain influence with lawmakers MORE (Tenn.), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarArizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Cruz, Cornyn to attend Biden inauguration Trust between lawmakers reaches all-time low after Capitol riots MORE (Ariz.), Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckProgressive groups warn against appointing tech insiders to key antitrust roles House Republican condemns anti-Trump celebrities during impeachment hearing Pompeo, Cruz and other Trump allies condemn Twitter's ban on president MORE (Colo.), Brian Babin (Texas) and Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanBiden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Inauguration Day McCarthy won't back effort to oust Cheney MORE (Ohio) — argued the agency should  “support the president” in his call to secure the southern border.

“Recent DHS statistics on the number of arrivals at our southern border are clear proof that what is currently being done, is not enough," the group wrote.

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The letter noted that two weeks ago U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost told the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration that, "as of March 31, 2019, 361,087 migrants have been apprehended between the points of entry (POEs) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, representing a 108 percent increase over the same time in FY 2018.”

“Current projections are that more than 1 million people will have crossed our southern border illegally this year. Our constituents, the American public, are confounded as to why more is not being done by your Department,” the letter said.

Proposals include expanding a training program for border patrol agents to conduct fear interviews, where an undocumented immigrant is referred to an asylum officer if they express fear of returning to their home country. 

Other proposals include limiting Immigration and Customs Enforcement's parole policy, limiting work authorization to only those whose asylum applications have been approved, increasing asylum fees and terminating the Flores settlement agreement.

“As the President continues to show leadership on this issue, we strongly encourage you to exercise the same manner of enthusiasm for fixing this crisis,” the letter says. “Included in this letter are proposals that would undoubtedly slow the surge at the border and provide context for long term immigration solutions.”

The group of immigration hard-liners also called for a third country agreement to be negotiated to allow undocumented immigrants to be relocated to another country that didn’t pose a threat in addition to enforcing “Migrant Protection Protocols,” which would require individuals from Central America to remain in Mexico while they await their immigration hearings.