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senate Bill S. 1494

Should Congress Close Asylum Loopholes & Change Rules Regarding the Detention of Children?

Argument in favor

This bill would reform and improve broken immigration laws related to asylum and the detention of children who enter the country illegally. It would require asylum applications to be made in Central America or Mexico, making it unnecessary for migrants to enter the U.S. illegally.

M's Opinion
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last Saturday
As a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother I am appalled at the trauma and suffering the Trump administration led by S. Miller has inflicted on these refugee children and their families. During the second Presidential debate when now President Elect Biden spoke compassionately about the pain of these children it made my blood run cold to hear President Trump quietly Say “Good!” Of all the damage Trump had inflicted on the world this is especially egregious in the eyes of those watching what was once the proud United States of America.
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B.R.'s Opinion
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last Saturday
This appears to be a good starting point in addressing the issues related to asylum and detention of children, although the increased time from 20 to 100 days needs improvement.
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07/29/2019
This bill would be a HUGE step in the right direction. There is no possible reason for opposing this legislation. This is exactly what we need to fix the crisis on our border. It protects true asylum seekers and children, while closing the damaging loopholes. It deals with the massive backlog and addresses the actual causes of the immigration crisis. To my Senators and Congressman: PLEASE support this and make it Law. The American People are sick of nothing being done to fix this problem. Get. It. Done.
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Argument opposed

While this bill may include worthwhile provisions to address the influx of unaccompanied minor children and migrant families crossing the border, it isn’t a broad enough solution to the problems facing U.S. immigration policy.

jimK's Opinion
···
last Saturday
Nope! The devil is always in the details of trumpublican double-speak legislation. Paraphrasing ‘The DHS shall be solely responsible for deciding who and how asylum seekers and their family members will be treated’. NOPE! NO! NADA! So what happened to immigration judges? Our laws apply to everybody, including asylum seekers and I surely do not want the DHS to be given the right to adjudicate our laws. This bill should be D.O.A. for this provision alone. Nice try lame-ass Lindsey, slippery disciple of the Newt. (The newt, as I recall is a lower life form of some sort of lizard-like thing that thrives on the edges of swamp slime and is characterized by a ‘gingrichly’ icky and featureless body. For some reasons the trumpublican party has committed to the ideology of the Newt and has lost all sense of principled governance. … … … Sorry, this looks like another attempt by trumpublicans to poison the wells, burn the bridges, plant land mines and leave burning paper bags filled with crap along the incoming path of the new administration. So NO. I really mean f@¢K you trumpublicans, try putting your country before party while there are still any of you left in governance - you elitist, self-important, entitled bassTURDS.
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larubia's Opinion
···
last Saturday
I wholeheartedly agree that changes need to be made in the way we process and treat asylum seekers, especially children, but this proposal is NOT it. Every year people come to the United States seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution. We have laws to protect them and used to have values that support them. We even have a statue welcoming immigrants on our shores. Remember her? Your grandparents might? Newsflash: Asylum seekers are here LEGALLY! Stop trying to demonize them. Stop separating their families. Stop putting them in cages and inhumane living situations. Newsflash: not ALL asylum seekers come from south of our borders! Why would someone from Somalia need to apply in Mexico first? Why would anyone? Yes, there is a big influx from the south of our border. I suggest if you want to fix it...figure out why & solve the problem. It will take diplomacy...so you’ll probably need to wait until after January 20th. Fix the process. Fix the problems. Do it humanely. If you need housing for unaccompanied minors, ask vetted Americans. I would be happy to open my home & welcome a child or two to my country. I would rather live next to a refugee family than one who thinks it’s okay to put kids in cages any day!!!
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burrkitty's Opinion
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last Saturday
Absolutely NOT. This wholesale changes the definition of asylum. Making people wait in the dangerous areas they are fleeing from undermines the whole concept of asylum. People will die waiting. ABSOLUTELY NO.
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What is Senate Bill S. 1494?

This bill — the Secure and Protect Act of 2019 — would aim to protect minors who entered the country illegally while in custody as their immigration case plays out and establish refugee processing centers in Mexico & Central America where asylum claims could be processed to reduce the frequency of illegal entry into the U.S. It would also make reforms to deter fraudulent asylum claims, in addition to increasing resources for immigration courts to process cases more quickly. A breakdown of its various provisions can be found below.

Protection of Minors

This section would allow for the detention of migrant children apprehended with their parents or guardians in family units. The amount of time migrant children could spend in detention would be increased from the current 20 days (established by a lawsuit settlement known as Flores v. Reno) to 100 days. Removal proceedings for migrant children and families with children would be prioritized and a 100-day completion goal would be set for immigration courts to decide such cases.

The Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) would have sole discretion to determine standards for detention related to migrant children, and states would be prohibited from requiring that immigrant family detention centers be licensed by states. Additionally, eligibility for Special Immigrants Juvenile status (SIJS) would be restricted to only those who cannot reunify with either parent.

Rules regarding unaccompanied children (UACs) would be revised to allow the expedited deportation of UACs within 48 hours of their apprehension regardless of the country they’re from (current law only allows expedited deportation for UACs from Canada or Mexico). UACs would be required to stay in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement until a final decision is made in their case.

Asylum Reform & Preventing Asylum Abuse

Applications for asylum made by residents of Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala) would have to be made at U.S. ports of entry or at refugee processing centers to be established in those countries and in Mexico. Within 240 days of this bill’s enactment the State Dept. would establish refugee application and processing centers outside the U.S. in consultation with the Dept. of Homeland Security. One center would be established in Mexico and at least three would be established in Central America.

Applicants would be ineligible for asylum if they have been convicted of a felony; have been deported; are inadmissible on health, criminal, or security grounds; or are residents of a country that has a refugee application center or a country that borders such a country.

Asylum applicants who establish that they have a credible fear of persecution would be referred to an immigration judge. The definition of “credible fear” would be revised to require the applicant to show that it’s “more likely than not” that they would face persecution if they return to their home country (the current standard requires a “significant possibility” of being persecuted).

The Justice Dept. would be authorized to hire at least 500 additional immigration judges and a corresponding amount of support staff, as necessary, to speed the processing of immigration cases. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would be authorized to increase the number of attorneys and support staff in a manner consistent with the workload staffing model to support the increased number of immigration judges.

Impact

Unauthorized immigrants, particularly unaccompanied minors and migrant families; DHS; Mexico & Central America; and immigration courts.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1494

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced this bill to strengthen border security by reforming “broken and outdated laws related to asylum and children.” In a press release, Graham explained:

“The number of people seeking entry into the United States coming from Central America has doubled since last year, creating both a humanitarian and national security crisis. My legislation, the Secure and Protect Act, would fix loopholes in our asylum law, requiring Central American immigrants to apply for asylum within their country or Mexico, not the United States, and allow more time to process claims involving minor children. These changes, according to Acting Secretary McAleenan, would stop most of the illegal flow coming from Central America.”

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and thanked Graham for introducing this bill. McAleenan offered the following statement in his opening remarks:

“We will continue to take aggressive action — and marshal resources from across DHS — to mitigate the crisis, and protect vulnerable people in our custody by expanding medical care, creating temporary facilities, improving transportation. However, the current state of affairs is not sustainable. Without key fixes and reforms, the American people will spend increasing sums of money on a worsening crisis. In order for us to solve this crisis and to create lasting change at the border, we must address the vulnerabilities in our legal framework. I am asking for narrow and targeted changes to our laws that will restore integrity to our immigration system and remove the incentives for families and children to cross our border illegally. I believe that, once implemented, these changes will represent a huge step forward in addressing this crisis and preventing further abuse of vulnerable populations by criminals.”

While Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats didn’t say that they would oppose this bill outright, several expressed a willingness to work to improve it in a bipartisan fashion. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) referenced the House-passed American Dream and Promise Act as something that should be considered for inclusion in final bill, while Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) suggested drawing up an aid package to improve conditions in Central America.

This legislation has the support of one cosponsor, Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ).


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection / Public Domain)

AKA

Secure and Protect Act of 2019

Official Title

A bill to amend the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 to protect alien minors and to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to end abuse of the asylum system and establish refugee application and processing centers outside the United States, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedMay 15th, 2019
    As a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother I am appalled at the trauma and suffering the Trump administration led by S. Miller has inflicted on these refugee children and their families. During the second Presidential debate when now President Elect Biden spoke compassionately about the pain of these children it made my blood run cold to hear President Trump quietly Say “Good!” Of all the damage Trump had inflicted on the world this is especially egregious in the eyes of those watching what was once the proud United States of America.
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    Nope! The devil is always in the details of trumpublican double-speak legislation. Paraphrasing ‘The DHS shall be solely responsible for deciding who and how asylum seekers and their family members will be treated’. NOPE! NO! NADA! So what happened to immigration judges? Our laws apply to everybody, including asylum seekers and I surely do not want the DHS to be given the right to adjudicate our laws. This bill should be D.O.A. for this provision alone. Nice try lame-ass Lindsey, slippery disciple of the Newt. (The newt, as I recall is a lower life form of some sort of lizard-like thing that thrives on the edges of swamp slime and is characterized by a ‘gingrichly’ icky and featureless body. For some reasons the trumpublican party has committed to the ideology of the Newt and has lost all sense of principled governance. … … … Sorry, this looks like another attempt by trumpublicans to poison the wells, burn the bridges, plant land mines and leave burning paper bags filled with crap along the incoming path of the new administration. So NO. I really mean f@¢K you trumpublicans, try putting your country before party while there are still any of you left in governance - you elitist, self-important, entitled bassTURDS.
    Like (65)
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    I wholeheartedly agree that changes need to be made in the way we process and treat asylum seekers, especially children, but this proposal is NOT it. Every year people come to the United States seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution. We have laws to protect them and used to have values that support them. We even have a statue welcoming immigrants on our shores. Remember her? Your grandparents might? Newsflash: Asylum seekers are here LEGALLY! Stop trying to demonize them. Stop separating their families. Stop putting them in cages and inhumane living situations. Newsflash: not ALL asylum seekers come from south of our borders! Why would someone from Somalia need to apply in Mexico first? Why would anyone? Yes, there is a big influx from the south of our border. I suggest if you want to fix it...figure out why & solve the problem. It will take diplomacy...so you’ll probably need to wait until after January 20th. Fix the process. Fix the problems. Do it humanely. If you need housing for unaccompanied minors, ask vetted Americans. I would be happy to open my home & welcome a child or two to my country. I would rather live next to a refugee family than one who thinks it’s okay to put kids in cages any day!!!
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    Nothing more than Graham attempting to curry favor with Trump, his base and ultra-conservatives by reviving previously bipartisan legislation (2014) and modifying it in support of the Trump Administration wish list such that his previous bipartisan partner sponsor Sen Durban (D-IL) no longer supports it. 1) Requires asylum seekers to request asylum in home country 2) Allows minors to be held in detention 100 days an increase from the current 20 days 3) Expedites deportations to 48 hours 4) Gives Homeland Security sole discretion to determine standards for detention 5) Prohibits states from requiring family detention centers be licensed by the state 6) Restricts Juvenile status 7) Raises the bar in proving fear of persecution in home country 8) Immigration officer’s decisions final & not reviewable 9) Asylum claims in US only at designated ports of entry 10) Fee fir applying at designated processing centers 11) Refugee Officers responsible for adjudication https://immigrationforum.org/article/bill-summary-secure-and-protect-act-of-2019/ https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/congress/article231423308.html https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1494/all-actions?r=96&overview=closed&s=1#tabs https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/s1494
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    Absolutely NOT. This wholesale changes the definition of asylum. Making people wait in the dangerous areas they are fleeing from undermines the whole concept of asylum. People will die waiting. ABSOLUTELY NO.
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    Forked tongue proposal........
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    jimK says all that needs to be said. Nope!
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    I am very suspicious of many facets of this bill. The DHS would solely set standards for detention of minors?! The Justice Dept. appointing judges (far right, no doubt) to hear the cases of the illegal immigrants?! Lying Lindsey, I don’t trust that this bill reflects our American value system. Go back to the drawing board. Better yet, get off your dead trumplican asses and approve financial help to the suffering and dying Americans and small businesses that your deadbeat leader has abandoned to go golfing and lay waste to our country before the President elect gets inaugurated. You trumplicans are just as pathetic as he is.
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    Absolutely not. Refugees should not be required to apply for asylum in other countries first, we should not be increasing detention time for children, nor should we be granting DHS sole oversight on the conditions migrants are to be kept in. And that was just from reading the first few lines of the summary. Changes to the immigration system need to be made in bills separate from the ones dealing with the current crisis on the border. These are not difficult problems to solve, but they are if everyone treats them like a political football.
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    No how, no way, with this bill!
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    Lindsey Graham is for anything that Trump wants so of course he wants to pass this bill.. His head is so far up Trump's ass it's not funny!!
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    Pretty simple all we have to do as a nation... is to rejoin the UN Human Rights. And stop building Detention Centers and starting creating Respite Centers. You have the damn model, you have seen that it works in other nations so what is the hold up. ————- Education Now about their needs of the children living here in the US While I agree we need to focus our resources on providing in-person learning for preschool through second grade and at-risk students. I fail to see the logic behind continue to ask teachers to continue to host in person learning for students from 12-20 different households while banning them from spending a couple hours with their family on Thanksgiving. Newsflash: While children many pose minimal risks in spreading the virus there are adults working IN our schools who are NOT living in the same household! If a Thanksgiving gathering posed such a danger then why wasn’t there a mitigation plan put in place months ago! It is not like Thanksgiving or the virus suddenly appeared. We the people have been dealing with it for nearly a year. Piss poor planning from our leadership, should NOT mean me giving up the holiday with my family. Likewise, educators should not be shamed for not wanting to put their lives on the line in one breath, then told they need to limit all contact for the sake of our nation in the next! Especially, not when many of those leaders who campaigned on a promise to “crush the virus” are sunbathing on the beaches of Hawaii. Stop REACTING and start acting like the leaders you are handsomely paid to be! Is there a risk mitigation team or a plan for Christmas? Do you even have any idea of what an educators job function actually is?? Caveat: This opinion of utter disgust is NOT directed towards the state Governors who have worked their butts off with very little help. —- Furthermore... I am fairly confident that in order to stop the spread of the virus basic needs (as defined by the UN Human Rights Council) to include shelter are just as critical as wearing a mask and hand washing. Likewise, in addition to to treatments and vaccines people also will need things like warm clothes and food. The utter failure of our legislators to address the needs of the people, show they are focusing more on their own agenda than that of the people they represent.
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    Nope! Nada! No! They're doing everything possible to destroy everything before inauguration! They are the ones who have made these United States the shit hole country! This is not who we are! All they've done is make my blood boil! They've ruined our relations that we had with other countries! I'm sorry but they can all go f*** themselves because they've all shit on their oath of office...our constitution...and us! We need to make sure that this never ever happens again!!!
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    Senators, Defeat S. 1494 - The Secure and Protect Act! It allegedly attempts to help children from other countries who seek sanctuary in our country. I am greatly sickened by another Bill with a Descriptive Title that says the OPPOSITE of what it does. There isn't an ounce of compassion in the proposed legislation! The reality of the legislation is to expedite the rejection and rapid ejection of minor asylum seekers. It furthers efforts to force other countries like Mexico to hold those seeking asylum in the US. This bill Increases the time a child can be held in detention centers. The bill allows children to be DEPORTED within 48 hours of arrival into America - regardless of their country of origin. The bill removes the ability of States to require the licensing of Family Detention Centers. See the post by @Leslie with more details and source links: https://www.causes.com/bills/s1494-116/positions/c0937d2c-d82e-4970-bbba-72f9a6eab9ad There is no doubt we need Immigration Reform including but not limited to asylum reform. This bill, S. 1494, must be rejected as it is just a piecemeal attempt to ultimately stop all asylum seekers, simply by making it next to impossible for them to file for asylum which is one of Trump’s foremost misguided goals. Equally important it fails to address relations the US Government has with countries with cruel, corrupt and incompetent governments. (Note: I am disheartened by the confusing (intentionally deceptive?) way Causes juxtaposed the lede question and the legislation proposed by Linsey Graham. In reading responses it should be clear that some people only read the question and not the legislation and the background information. We all need to be very careful with formulating and answering YES / NO questions.) [Edited.] [Added link to @Leslie’s more detailed response with source links.] [Re-edited Note.]
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    I’m not really in support of any major bills that the GOP wants between now and next 1/21/21. They seem to want to leave this country in shambles so they can blame the democrats??!! Of course that makes no sense but that seems to be the plan. I want a relief deal put through ASAP! No strings from the GOP...
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    Cornyn, Cruz, to think that with all the bills STUCK in Moscow Mitch’s closet, THIS bill COULD BE the FIRST bill to be brought to the floor and MAY GET a VOTE in HOW LONG, NOT ONLY NOOO! but HELL NOOO! In the meantime, PULL YOUR HEADS OUT OF WHOEVER’S ASS YOU’RE CURRENTLY IN AND CONGRATULATE PRESIDENT-ELECT BIDEN AND VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT HARRIS ON THEIR WIN! 🖕.
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    Another attempt to continue the GOP’s fight on immigrants and the inhuman criminal actions forced on children and families. We need to introduce immigration reform based on a much higher level of integrity, compassion and constructive intelligence than this
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    I don’t trust anything that comes from this Senator. I don’t trust anything our Congress presents dealing with immigration.
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    Where was Lindsey Graham for the last four years hiding up someone’s A—. MIA, he and the Republican Party all ready done the damage by not standing up to Trump and his administration giving into phobias, to little too late, to 500+ children! An a—hole from South Carolina he lost his moral compass when John McCain passed away. The laws we have in place are international laws, Lindsey Graham trying to do an end run and disenfranchise asylum-seekers, a typical Republican process. If you want to close loopholes how about corporate and the wealthy loopholes.
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    This appears to be a good starting point in addressing the issues related to asylum and detention of children, although the increased time from 20 to 100 days needs improvement.
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