New GOP bills attack the raging border crisis while Biden sits on his hands
FAIR Take | September 2022
While President Joe Biden continues to ignore and even encourage the raging crisis on the southern border, some principled lawmakers in Washington continue to valiantly fight what has been an uphill battle. Four Republicans from four different states have recently introduced legislation to attack different aspects of the crisis. These are the true “root causes” Vice President Kamala Harris is supposed to be addressing, and FAIR wholeheartedly supports each bill. We will explore them here.
Most recently, on September 27, Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and Representative Troy Nehls (R-Texas-22) jointly introduced S. 4964 / H.R. 9013, the Justice for Angel Families Act, in their respective chambers. The bill would accomplish two important objectives: extend eligibility for crime-victim grants to the families of those killed by illegal aliens, and re-establish the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office at the Department of Homeland Security. First created by a Trump Executive Order in April 2017, the VOICE office was converted into the “Victims Engagement and Services Line” in June 2021 by the Biden administration and lost its focus on immigration-related crime. This bill would give the office a mandate to “provide proactive, timely, and professional services to victims of crimes committed by aliens who are inadmissible…deportable…or otherwise unlawfully present in the United States, and to the family members of such victims.” Upon introducing the bill, Senator Marshall said, “Congressman Nehls and I are introducing this legislation to restore our angel families’ dignity and build on the support they received through the VOICE Office, which was disgracefully dismantled by the Biden Administration.”
On September 22, Representative Kat Cammack (R-Fla.-03) introduced H.R. 8952, the Justified Action for Securing Our Nation (JASON) Act. The idea and name for the bill came from a heroic Border Patrol agent whom the Congresswoman met on one of several trips to the southern border. It amends Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to extend to the Secretary of Homeland Security the power to suspend immigration for up to 60 days, with Congressional notification, and prescribe specific conditions under which such a suspension may be imposed. Under current law, the President already enjoys the power to suspend immigration indefinitely, but given this administration’s penchant for open borders and lax enforcement, we have little confidence Biden would wield it. Upon releasing the bill, Congresswoman Cammack said, “This bill holds the Secretary [of Homeland Security] accountable by providing him with the authority to shut down the border to protect our national security and deliver relief to the hundreds of CBP agents who are doing their best to hold the line in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.”
On the same day, Representative Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.-05) introduced H.R. 8951, the Ending Catch and Release Act, which would require illegal aliens to be detained or expelled pending the outcome of their claim in immigration court. With this legislation, no longer would we see millions set free to disappear into American society – many without a court date at all. In FY2019, nearly half of asylum-seekers released failed to even show up for their hearing – likely because they know their claim is bogus – and this rate will soar given the expansion of catch-and-release under Biden. Congressman Biggs and the 13 original co-sponsors of his legislation understand the danger of these policies and FAIR commends them for acting to stop it. As Biggs said upon release of his bill, “we must maintain operational control of the southern border and this legislation gets us closer to that.”
FAIR urges swift passage of each of the commonsense measures above as part of an all-encompassing approach to securing the border, fortifying our interior enforcement, and making American communities safe to live, work, and play.