As Congress and the White House seek to strike a funding deal before the government “shuts down” on December 21, the conservative House Freedom Caucus is taking a stand for border security and immigration enforcement.
House Freedom Caucus co-founder Rep. Jim Jordan tweeted Monday night that the group of conservative lawmakers would introduce a pair of amendments to the end-of-year funding bill that seek to fund the border wall and end catch-and-release policies at the border.
“Let’s get it done,” Jordan wrote. “We have the American people on our side.”
.@freedomcaucus announces two amendments to funding bill:
-Fund the border security wall
-Reform asylum laws to end Catch and Release
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) December 11, 2018
A subsequent infographic from the Caucus claims a 1,700 percent increase in asylum claims since 2008 and that “more than 250,000” illegal aliens have been caught and released since 2016.
It's time to keep our promise. pic.twitter.com/5Splwnhg6R
— House Freedom Caucus (@freedomcaucus) December 11, 2018
The proposed amendments would fund the border wall with updated legislative language for the Secure Fence Act to “explicitly authorize the construction of a border wall system on the southern border, and provide $5 billion in appropriations for the construction thereof,” according to legislative press briefing materials.
For fixing the asylum process, the proposal contains a three-pronged approach of systemic reforms.
First, it would raise the threshold of evidence for “credible fear” asylum claim to cut down on the use of bogus claims as backup plans for illegal border-crossers.
Second, it would also require the Department of Homeland Security “to treat arrivals from contiguous and noncontiguous countries the same, providing for expedited removal of aliens that have not been the subject of human trafficking,” according to the same materials.
Finally, it would negate the oft-discussed “Flores settlement,” which has been at the center of the controversy over detaining border-crossing family units. The proposed amendment “would make clear that there is no presumption that an unaccompanied alien child be released regardless of Flores” while preventing states from trying to shut down detention center operations.
With Democrats taking over the lower chamber in January, the upcoming budget fight appears to be House Republicans’ last shot at fulfilling any of their promises on immigration.