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Opinion | Stop the crisis: Close the loopholes

Bradley Byrne

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Since Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, they have turned a blind eye to infanticide, promoted over-regulation of American businesses and sought socialist measures in the United States, oftentimes at the expense of the taxpayer.

They have also made it clear that they stand for open borders by ignoring the ongoing crisis at the southern border.

In the past five months, we have read story after story of illegal immigrants taking advantage of our weakened border and broken immigration system to commit horrendous, preventable crimes.

In March, there was a 230 percent increase in illegal border crossings in the Yuma Sector of Arizona alone.

That same month, a man who had been deported two times made his way back into our country and raped and killed an innocent woman in New Jersey.

And in Southwest Alabama, a beloved educator at Living Word Christian Center Kingdom Academy, Sonya Jones, was killed in a head-on wreck in Mobile by an illegal immigrant who failed to appear at a court date for his immigration case.

Too often, our system allows foreigners to come into our country illegally, slip through the cracks and commit horrific acts.

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If Democrat House leadership would stop stonewalling and act, we could prevent these tragedies, and innocent Americans wouldn’t be needlessly put at risk.

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I stand with President Donald Trump and his continued calls to fund national security improvements at our border and fix our broken system. We owe it to the American people.

That is why I cosponsored the Fix the Immigration Loopholes Act. Congress must close the loopholes that continue to allow historic numbers of illegal immigrants to enter our country.

This legislation includes three reforms to prevent illegal immigration: fixing the Flores settlement, closing loopholes in the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and improving the asylum system.

The Flores case settlement, reached in 1997, states that children who come into the country illegally must be released into the U.S. after only 20 days. This terrible legal settlement, put in place by former President Bill Clinton’s administration, caused the family separation problem last year. This bill will ensure children entering the country illegally are not separated from their parent or guardian while their claim is processed. It also contains measures to ensure that the accompanying adult truly is their parent or legal guardian, reducing the incentive for illegal immigrants to smuggle children to increase their chance of release into our country.

Closing loopholes in the TVPRA will do much to ensure that unaccompanied minors are quickly and safely returned to their home. Current policy only allows expedited action to be taken for children from countries that border the U.S. children from other countries must go through a long court process, during which time they are released into our country. Oftentimes, they disappear before their court proceeding occurs. This bill will make sure they receive a hearing within 14 days and that the Department of Homeland Security is provided with biographical information about the person or persons they are released to, helping to prevent human trafficking.

Lastly, this bill closes loopholes in the asylum process by tightening the “credible fear” standard, which promotes frivolous and fraudulent claims of asylum. It also increases penalties for making false or frivolous claims in asylum proceedings. Currently, only about 20 percent of asylum claims are granted.

Illegal immigrants committing heinous, preventable crimes and smuggling children clearly constitutes a crisis. Our porous border must be secured by eliminating loopholes that incentivize illegality.

While Democrats stand idly by, I will continue to fight for your safety.

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