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 passes bill to grant flexibility for small business aid program The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Major space launch today; Trump feuds with Twitter House Republicans to file lawsuit to halt proxy voting MORE (Texas), Scott PerryScott Gordon PerryKey races to watch in Tuesday's primaries House Democrats make initial ad buys in battleground states Trump lends support to swing district Republicans MORE (Pa.), Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceOvernight Energy: Biden campaign says he would revoke Keystone XL permit | EPA emails reveal talks between Trump officials, chemical group before 2017 settlement | Tensions emerge on Natural Resources panel over virtual meetings Tensions emerge on Natural Resources panel over virtual meetings House conservatives voice concerns over minority rights during remote hearings MORE (Ga.), Mark GreenMark GreenScalise blasts Democrats for calling on certain companies to return PPP loans Scalise targets China, WHO response from coronavirus oversight perch McCarthy unveils new GOP-led China task force MORE (Tenn.), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarConservative lawmakers press Trump to suspend guest worker programs for a year Impeachment figure among those chosen for Facebook's new oversight board Cruz rebukes San Antonio City Council for denouncing 'Chinese virus' as hate speech MORE (Ariz.), Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckHouse GOP urge Trump against supporting additional funding for state and local governments House Judiciary Committee calls on Bezos to testify as part of antitrust probe The Hill's 12:30 Report: White House slams media amid disinfectant firestorm MORE (Colo.), Brian Babin (Texas) and Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers House punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate 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.