President Donald Trump should demand Congress hold a special session to deal with the approaching migrant caravan by closing loopholes that invite bogus asylum claims, a hawkish immigration group urged Wednesday.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which favors stricter enforcement and lower levels of immigration, argued that only Congress can avert a full-blown crisis.
“This assault on the sovereignty of the United States demands the immediate attention of Congress,” FAIR President Dan Stein said in a prepared statement. “This staged caravan of migrants meets the definition of an invasion of our nation, even if the organizers’ foot soldiers are unarmed.”
Launched a couple of weeks ago from Honduras, the caravan now is in Huixtla, Mexico, and numbers an estimated 7,000 people. Recently, another 2,500 people have gathered near the Honduran-Guatemalan border, apparently to form another caravan.
Both groups hope to make it all the way to the United States to apply for asylum.
Congress currently is in recess until after next month’s midterm elections. But Stein said it is a dereliction of duty to be campaigning while the tens of thousands of foreigners march toward America.
“Quite frankly, Congress has not done its job. Congress has known for a long time that people have been lodging specious asylum claims for the expressed purpose of gaining entry to the United States,” he stated.
“Congress is well aware that judicial limits on the amount of time minors may be detained is an engraved invitation for people to arrive at the border with children in tow,” he said.
Limits on the detention of children, developed from laws and court rulings, complicate immigration enforcement. Under a federal judge’s interpretation of a 1990s court settlement, U.S. authorities may not detain children and their parents for longer than 20 days.
Because it takes longer that that to process an asylum claim, authorities must release illegal immigrant families while they pursue asylum petitions. Once released, many never bother to complete the legal process and simply remain illegal immigrants in the country. Many others ditch electronic monitoring devices and other forms of supervision.
Data provided by a senior administration official on Tuesday indicate officials deported fewer than 2 percent of children and adults traveling together into the United States between Oct. 1, 2016, and September 30 of 2017.
“Congress can fix these loopholes anytime they are prepared to uphold their constitutional responsibilities, and with a looming crisis at the border it is time to come back to the Capitol and act,” Stein stated.
Roy Beck, president of the low-immigration advocacy group NumbersUSA, agreed.
“The anarchy we see with the caravan, and increasingly at our southern border, will only grow worse until Congress finally takes responsibility by cleaning up the asylum process and taking away the jobs magnet.,” he said in a statement.
In addition to closing asylum loopholes, Beck called on Congress to require all employers to use the E-Verify system, which instantly confirms whether newly hired workers are eligible to work legally in the United States.