Congresswoman Martha McSally

Representing the 2nd District of Arizona

ICYMI: Congresswoman McSally Draws a Hard Line on Immigration Loopholes

May 23, 2018
Press Release
On Fox News, McSally Discusses Her Hearing & Legislation to “Build a Policy Wall” to End Criminals’ Exploitation of America’s Generosity

WASHINGTON, DC – In a Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee hearing she chaired yesterday, U.S. Representative McSally blasted loopholes in our existing immigration laws that allow MS-13 gang members, drug cartels, human traffickers and others to enter the country.

"Individuals have learned how to exploit the system," said Congresswoman McSally during the hearing. "It should surprise no one that many of those who claim asylum do not ever show up for their court date, most likely because their claim is unfounded in the first place."

Congresswoman McSally summarized several of the major loopholes and the policies necessary to address them in her statements below. First, the United States needs to raise the standard for the initial asylum interview that happens at the border. The second is to hold individuals as long as it takes for them to have due process while their asylum claims are adjudicated. Third, serious criminals, gang member, or terrorists should be unequivocally prohibited from entering the country. Fourth, require a swift removal if the asylum claim is denied. Fifth, terminate asylum status for those who return back to their country. Sixth, expeditiously return of unaccompanied minors to non-contiguous countries. Finally, increase the penalties for false asylum claims in order to deter and hold people accountable.

Because these loopholes are written into law, only Congress can act to close them. Legislative solutions to close these gaps are included in the Securing America’s Future Act, which Congresswoman McSally authored with Representatives Goodlatte, McCaul, and Labrador. It is the only border security bill the President supports.

Click HERE or below to watch her remarks in committee.  

 

Additionally, the Congresswoman appeared on Fox News today with Harris Faulkner today ahead of the President’s MS-13 roundtable in Long Island. Rep. McSally further discussed her hearing and how House leadership has committed to taking up Securing America’s Future Act in June. 

“Transnational criminal organizations are taking advantage of our lax laws, and only Congress can act. My bill closes these loopholes and we are demanding that it be brought to the floor. Leadership says it will be brought to the floor, and we need 218 votes for it to pass. Democrats need to stop playing politics with this,” Congresswoman McSally said on Fox.

Click HERE or below to watch her full interview. 

 

Read Politico and the Washington Time’s coverage of the hearing below.

 

Politico: McSally takes a hard line on asylum-seekers

By Ted Hesson

05/22/2018 03:47 PM EDT

Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) today blasted "loopholes" that allow migrants to seek asylum in the United States.

McSally chaired a hearing of the House Homeland Security Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee that focused on asylum and illegal immigration.

"Individuals have learned how to exploit the system," she said. "It should surprise no one that many of those who claim asylum do not ever show up for their court date, most likely because their claim is unfounded in the first place."

McSally spoke of the need to toughen the standard to lodge an asylum claim, and to alter a human trafficking law that prohibits the swift deportation of children from countries other than Mexico or Canada.

The Arizona lawmaker is engaged in a competitive primary race for the Senate seat currently occupied by Republican Jeff Flake. The latest polls show McSally in a near tie with Kelli Ward, a physician and immigration hard-liner.

A group of protesters held up pro-refugee signs at the start of the hearing until McSally had them removed by U.S. Capitol Police.

 

Washington Times: More than 450 caravan migrants made it into U.S.

Only small fraction facing charges

By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2018

More than 450 people from the illegal immigrant caravan managed to make it into the U.S., officials told Congress Tuesday.

Of those just 122 were arrested for jumping the border, while more than 330 others showed up at official ports of entry and demanded asylum, the officials told the House Homeland Security Committee, giving the first complete look at the effects of the caravan.

Despite a very public zero tolerance policy the Trump administration announced for the caravan, authorities have announced charges against only a small fraction of the 122 people who jumped the border.

Homeland Security officials weren’t able to give an exact number of people who did face charges, but the Justice Department only announced 11 prosecutions in California, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection pointed to a few others in Texas.

In court documents filed in California, a Border Patrol supervisor said they didn’t lodge charges against mothers who jumped the border with their children or, in one case, a woman who was eight months pregnant — but it was unclear how many people that covered in total.

The caravan began as about 1,500 people from Central America making their way north through Mexico to the U.S., traveling for weeks. Some got turned back in Mexico, others were granted protections in Mexico, but nearly 600 reached Tijuana, and of those more than 450 did get into the U.S.

“We encountered almost 500 of them,” said Ronald D. Vitiello, acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.

The majority — more than 330 — followed government directions and waited to apply for asylum through the official ports of entry, and are now in processing in the U.S.

Of those, asylum officers have screened 216 of them already, and found 205 — nearly 95 percent — cleared the initial low bar of claiming a “credible fear” of being sent back to their home country, giving them an initial foothold in the U.S.

That’s “so low that nearly everybody can make it through,” said Rep. Martha McSally, the Arizona Republican who served as chairman of Tuesday’s hearing where officials detailed the caravan enforcement.

Many of the asylum seekers will be released into the country and eventually given work permits while they await their full asylum hearings, which can take years.

Only about 20 percent will be successful in winning those cases, while many others won’t even bother to pursue their asylum cases, instead ignoring summonses and disappearing into the illegal immigrant population, analysts said.

Lee Francis Cissna, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which handles the initial asylum screening, said the caravan migrants are emblematic of a much larger problem. His agency now has an asylum backlog of more than 300,000 cases, many of them likely to be bogus.

“A lot of people, we believe, do this on purpose,” he said, adding that once they’ve been waiting for six months they can apply for work permits, which is what many of them are seeking anyway. “they can wander around working freely in the economy for as long as it takes to hear their claims.”

Democrats said that attitude was a disservice to real asylum seekers who are fleeing horrid conditions in their home countries.

“We love to paint immigrants as criminals. That is not the complete facts and that is very offensive for me to see that continuing to happen,” said Rep. Nanette Barragan, California Democrat.

She said when she practiced as a lawyer, she handled asylum cases and said proving a case is difficult.

She said the low level of approval has less to do with people being undeserving and more to do with the difficulty of navigating the immigration courts. She said if more asylum-seekers had lawyers, more would be able to win their cases.

“Just because you don’t get asylum doesn’t mean that it’s a fraud,” she said.