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 RoyHouse GOP stages mask mandate protest House clears .1 billion Capitol security bill, sending to Biden House at war over Jan. 6 inquiry, mask mandate MORE (Texas), Scott PerryScott Gordon PerryPhotos of the Week: Olympic sabre semi-finals, COVID-19 vigil and a loris Trump urged DOJ officials to call election corrupt 'and leave the rest to me' GOP lawmakers demand answers on withheld restitution following Nassar revelation MORE (Pa.), Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceHouse at war over Jan. 6 inquiry, mask mandate Georgia secretary of state calls for Fulton County elections officials to be fired One-third of GOP candidates have embraced Trump election claims: report MORE (Ga.), Mark GreenMark GreenSenators introduce bipartisan bill to expand foreign aid partnerships Overnight Health Care: CDC encourages schools to open for in-person learning, masks optional | President directs moves on drug importation, calls for plan to lower drug prices | FDA asks for federal investigation of Alzheimer's drug approval Bipartisan lawmakers press NIH for info on deleted coronavirus data MORE (Tenn.), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarReporter: Gosar's immigration proposal shows lack of 'unifying theme' for GOP opposition Gaetz, Greene and Gohmert turned away from jail to visit Jan. 6 defendants Five takeaways from a bracing day of Jan. 6 testimony MORE (Ariz.), Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckGOP lawmakers demand answers on withheld restitution following Nassar revelation Hillicon Valley: Biden: Social media platforms 'killing people' | Tech executives increased political donations amid lobbying push | Top House antitrust Republican forms 'Freedom from Big Tech Caucus' Top House antitrust Republican forms 'Freedom from Big Tech Caucus' MORE (Colo.), Brian Babin (Texas) and Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanJordan acknowledges talking to Trump on Jan. 6 AP Fact Check rates GOP claim Pelosi blocked National Guard on Jan. 6 'false' Officers' powerful Capitol riot testimony underscores Pelosi's partisan blunder 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.