Senator Graham to introduce long overdue asylum reform bill

The recent wave of asylum-seekers from Central America who have shown up at our southern border points out the desperate need for reforming our asylum laws and procedures.

The fact is, few asylum-seekers will be successful because they don't come here to escape religious persecution or political oppression.  They come for "a better life."  You can hardly blame them for that, considering the hell-holes they are trying to escape.

But asylum laws were written not to give people a better life.  And the fact that so many asylum-seekers are allowed to stay in the U.S. until their cases are decided in court means that many tens of thousands will become permanent illegal residents.

Senator Lindsey Graham wants to discourage asylum-seekers from coming, and he is writing a bill to close several loopholes being exploited by Central American migrants.

Washington Times:

"We have to change these laws so people stop coming," Mr. Graham told Fox News during an appearance on "Sunday Morning Futures."

"Doing what we are doing is not working … the crisis has to come to an end," he added.

The chairman of the Judiciary Committee said lawmakers will mark up a bill once they return from recess later this month.

He wants to change the time officials can detain a minor child to more than 20 days, saying the court decision now in place requires them to be released after 20 days of detainment, long before a family's asylum case can be decided, causing many family units (and sometimes fake families) to be released.

Mr. Graham also said the law now only lets the U.S. return minor children to Mexico or Canada instead of the Central American country from which they came, so he wants to alter the law to allow the unaccompanied minors to be returned to Central America.

The senator said the people in Central America are aware of these quirks and have been exploiting them.

The push to reform asylum laws may become part of a larger package to reform the immigration system:

The renewed push to change current U.S. immigration law comes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, signaled last week he's willing to start negotiating with Democrats on a major immigration reform bill, saying something needs to get done and it will require the GOP making concessions.

Mr. McConnell said Republicans want to see action on border security and changes to the policies that create the incentives drawing migrants toward the U.S. right now — but said that will mean dealing with Democrats who control the House.

"I think it's way past time for us to have an adult bipartisan discussion about our immigration laws and see what we can agree to," he told reporters Thursday.

Asked whether that means he would entertain the broad "comprehensive immigration reform" approach Democrats say is necessary, Mr. McConnell signaled an openness.

"I'm willing to enter into a negotiation to see what we can do to fix the problems," he said.

The two most frightening words on the Hill are "comprehensive reform."  That approach always end up leading to a slew of unintended consequences as poorly written bills become law.  The incrementalist approach might take longer, but it would have far fewer problems in the long run.

Graham has the right idea, and anything Congress does to stem the massive tide of humanity showing up at our southern border demanding someone take care of them would be welcome.

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