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Sen. Britt, colleagues introduce border security legislation

The four-piece legislative package includes a bill to fund the wall at the Mexican border.

Sen. Katie Britt speaks with Border Patrol officials at a briefing in Eagle Pass, Texas on Jan. 9, 2023.
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U.S. Senator Katie Britt, R-Alabama, Thursday led a coalition of her colleagues in introducing a package of four pieces of legislation aimed at “sealing and securing the southern border, cracking down on asylum abuse, keeping American communities and families safe, and ultimately ending the ongoing border crisis.”

“There is an unprecedented humanitarian and national security crisis at our southern border,” Britt said. “This is a direct, avoidable result of the Biden Administration’s dangerously weak policies. Hardworking parents across our nation want their children to grow up in safe, strong communities, so that they can reach their full potential and live their American Dream. This legislation would help secure that dream for families in every corner of our country.”

The first piece of the package is a resolution that would act as a straightforward acknowledgment of a crisis on the southern border.

“We have to acknowledge the problem before we can solve it, but President Biden hasn’t even been willing to do that,” Britt said. “With a record number of Americans dying from fentanyl poisoning, record deaths among migrants attempting to cross the border, record profits by the cartels, and a record amount of people on the terrorism watchlist apprehended at the border, there is no doubt that this is a crisis unlike which we have ever seen.”

The second piece of the package, the “Keep Our Communities Safe Act,” would close a policy that requires the federal government to release illegal aliens into the United States’ interior after detaining them for six months, if no other country accepts them for deportation.

“Keeping American communities and families safe starts with empowering the Department of Homeland Security to keep criminals off of our streets,” Britt said. 

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tubberville, R-Alabama, is among the bill’s cosponsors.

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“The Biden administration’s open-border, catch-and-release policies have created a crisis that threatens the safety of local communities and our national security,” Tubberville said. “The Keep Our Communities Safe Act addresses the deliberate enforcement void created by President Biden by giving the Department of Homeland Security the discretion to detain illegal immigrants awaiting deportation and barring criminals from being released into the country. This bill closes loopholes that overwhelm law enforcement and endanger Americans.”

The Asylum Abuse Reduction Act, the third piece of the package, is a four-pronged bill that Britt and Republican colleagues say would “fix America’s broken asylum process, which is causing chaos throughout the country’s immigration and border security system.” The bill would require migrants to declare asylum at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico or Canada before entering the United States; create a criminal bench warrant for aliens that have failed to appear for immigration court; codify the Trump Administration’s Third Country Asylum Rule; and establish a fix to the Flores Settlement Agreement.

“It is critical that we end incentives and loopholes that are encouraging immigrants to break the law and game the system,” Britt said. “The status quo has led to a tidal wave of people coming across our border. It is imperative that we fix the process to eliminate asylum abuse and ensure legitimate asylum claimants are processed in a timely fashion.”

The final piece of the package is the WALL Act. This bill would expend funds to complete building the wall on the southern border. The legislation would pay for this expenditure by eliminating the entitlement benefits and tax credits that illegal immigrants are using and fining those making illegal entry into the United States.

“We need to seal and secure the border – at ports of entry and between them – through a combination of physical infrastructure, technology, equipment, and personnel,” Britt said. “An invaluable piece of this equation is finishing the wall on our southern border. This is a commonsense measure that funds this construction without raising taxes on American citizens or adding to the national debt.”

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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