By MARIAM KHAN
May 15, 2019
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham a longtime advocate for comprehensive immigration reform on Wednesday rolled out new legislation that he says is “designed to stop the humanitarian crisis” at the U.S.-Mexico border.
His bill focuses exclusively on immigration from Central America.
“A wall will not fix this,” Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said at news conference.
Graham is usually a strong ally of President Donald Trump, who built his 2016 campaign on a promise to build a wall along the southern border, but has struggled to follow through on his promise in the two years he has been president.
“No matter how high the wall will be built … no matter how many agents you put at the border, they’ll keep coming because they want to get caught,” Graham said.
Graham’s proposal would change current law by prohibiting asylum claims at the U.S. border and requiring asylum applicants from Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to apply for asylum in their respective countries.
“Word is out on the streets in Central America that if you bring a child with you – regardless of whether or not it is actually your child – America’s laws can be manipulated to allow you to stay in the United States,” Graham said.
His legislation would also modify U.S. law to allow families to be held together up to 100 days in the U.S. while making their asylum claims, while the current limit is 20 days.
His legislation would require unaccompanied minors from Central America to be returned to their home countries of origin.
It would also add an addition 500 new immigration judges to reduce the backlog of cases.