May 28, 2023

Dawson County Journal

Dawson County, Nebraska

Sen. Britt to introduce four sweeping immigration measures, call on Senate to acknowledge crisis at the border

EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala., will introduce four pieces of legislation Thursday aimed at “securing and sealing” the southern border and protecting American communities amid an unprecedented influx of migrants and drugs into the United States.

Britt, who was overwhelmingly elected last November to serve as the Yellowhammer State’s junior senator, will introduce a straightforward resolution calling on the Senate to acknowledge that the current situation at the southern border amounts to a crisis. The resolution has support from 18 of Britt’s GOP Senate colleagues.

“We have to acknowledge the problem before we can solve it, but President Biden hasn’t even been willing to do that,” Britt said of the resolution in a statement to Fox News Digital. “With a record number of Americans dying from fentanyl poisoning, record deaths among migrants attempting to cross the border, record profits by the cartels, and a record amount of people on the terrorism watchlist apprehended at the border, there is no doubt that this is a crisis unlike which we have ever seen.”

In addition to the resolution, Britt will also introduce three measures – the Keep Our Communities Safe Act, the Asylum Abuse Reduction Act, and the WALL Act – in an effort to strengthen border protection measures and curb the flow of illegal migrants into American neighborhoods.


The Keep Our Communities Safe Act – according to Britt’s office – would put an end to the Obama-Biden “catch-and-release” policy, which refers to the federal government’s release of migrants into the U.S. interior while they await court proceedings.

Under current law, migrants are to be released from custody into the U.S. after six months if no other country accepts them for deportation. When individuals arrive in the United States, either at ports of entry, or when caught crossing the border illegally, they are considered “arriving aliens” under immigration laws. Under U.S. code, those individuals are required to be detained until a decision is made whether they are to be admitted to the country.

The measure, which has received support from 19 GOP senators, would close the loophole preventing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from detaining illegal immigrants for more than six months based on a number of factors, including when “their release would threaten the safety of the community and the alien either is an aggravated felon or has committed a crime of violence,” if they “have a highly contagious disease,” or if their “release would have serious adverse foreign policy consequences.”

The Asylum Abuse Reduction Act aims to tackle a number of issues related to the asylum process and enhance criminal consequences for illegal immigrants who fail to appear for immigration court.

Britt’s office said the four-pronged measure – backed by 10 other GOP senators – would require individuals seeking asylum to have their preliminary screening with an immigration officer by telephone or in person at an embassy or consulate outside the United States prior to being considered for admittance for asylum purposes.

The bill would also impose more heavy-handed criminal punishments by implementing a bench warrant for illegal immigrants who evade court proceedings. Those warrants, for instance, would notify officers who stop an illegal immigrant for an unrelated offense that the individual has violated immigration law.

Additionally, the legislation aims to prevent family separation and codifies a Trump-era plan that prohibits migrants from claiming asylum in the United Sates if they have not sought the same protections in other countries prior to their arrival in the United States.

“It is critical that we end incentives and loopholes that are encouraging immigrants to break the law and game the system,” Britt said. “The status quo has led to a tidal wave of people coming across our border. It is imperative that we fix the process to eliminate asylum abuse and ensure legitimate asylum claimants are processed in a timely fashion.”

The WALL Act, which has five GOP co-sponsors, would expend funds to complete the construction of the Trump administration’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.


Specifically, the legislation would pay for the completion of the wall by eliminating the entitlement benefits and tax credits that illegal immigrants are using and placing $3,000 minimum fines on those who illegally enter into the United States. The bill also calls for $300 fines to be placed on those working and filing taxes in the U.S.

Referring to the bill as a “commonsense measure,” Britt highlighted the need for physical infrastructure, technology, equipment, and personnel at the southern border.

“An invaluable piece of this equation is finishing the wall on our southern border,” she said. “This is a commonsense measure that funds this construction without raising taxes on American citizens or adding to the national debt.”

Last month, U.S. border agents confirmed that 1.2 million illegal migrants “got away” from authorities while crossing the border under President Biden’s administration. The first half of Biden’s four-year term saw monthly border encounters rise from 101,000 in February 2021 to 251,000 in December 2022, according to CBP statistics.

“There is an unprecedented humanitarian and national security crisis at our southern border,” Britt told Fox. “This is a direct, avoidable result of the Biden administration’s dangerously weak policies. Hardworking parents across our nation want their children to grow up in safe, strong communities, so that they can reach their full potential and live their American Dream. This legislation would help secure that dream for families in every corner of our country.”

Last month, Britt, the first female elected to the Senate from Alabama, traveled to the southern border for a firsthand look at the crisis.

“Joe Biden hasn’t just failed to secure the border – he’s willfully sabotaged it,” said Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton, who co-sponsored three of the measures being introduced by Britt. “His political games have cost American wages, taxes, and lives.”

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) saw an estimated 718,000 border encounters in the first 100 days of fiscal year 2023, which began Oct. 1. In December, Border Patrol agents stopped 17 people on the FBI’s terror watch list at the southern border, bringing the total of individuals arrested at the southern border to 38 already for the current fiscal year.

Regarding the measures being introduced Thursday, Idaho GOP Sen. James Risch, a co-sponsor of all four pieces of legislation from Britt, said: “Four and a half million illegal immigrants, more than double the population of Idaho, have been encountered at the southern border since President Biden took office. This record-breaking number fails to account for the gotaways, illicit drugs, and human smuggling that has also poured into communities across the country.”

“President Biden’s southern border is a drug crisis, a humanitarian crisis, and a national security crisis. It’s time to reverse course and secure the border by building the wall, reinstating the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, and ending ‘catch and release,'” he added.

Similarly, South Dakota GOP Sen. Mike Rounds, who is also a co-sponsor of each bill set to be introduced by Britt Tuesday, said: “Our immigration system has been broken for years, but the Biden administration’s policies have created a crisis at our southern border. Congress must take action if we are ever to find a long-term solution to strengthen our borders, fix the current border crisis and make certain our legal immigration system adequately meets our workforce needs.”

“I am pleased to join Senator Britt on these bills, which are a step in the right direction to protecting against illegal immigration and stopping those who wish to do us harm,” he added. “I will continue to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to eliminate the crisis once and for all.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Bill Melugin, Adam Shaw, and Anders Hagstrom contributed to this article.

Source: Politics