(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) introduced a bill today that would halt the influx of unaccompanied alien children coming into the United States illegally by implementing mandatory detention, expedited removal, and reforms to existing trafficking law.
"Our lax enforcement of immigration laws for decades has only encouraged more immigrants to come here illegally. That’s exactly why we’re seeing the influx of unaccompanied immigrant children arriving at our southern border. We need a policy that actually deters illegal immigration. I’ve said that if we want to send a message to others thinking about coming here illegally, let’s deport these people by the planeload," said Vitter.
When President Obama granted legal status to millions of immigrant children, it signaled to the world that his administration would not enforce existing immigration laws. The recent increase of illegal aliens coming into the United States is a direct result of the lack of enforcement. The Vitter bill addresses Obama’s lack of enforcement of the law by removing the administration’s broad discretion to release illegal aliens into communities.
The Vitter bill will do the following:
• Requires mandatory detention of all unaccompanied minors upon apprehension by border agents.
• Gives unaccompanied minors the option to voluntarily return to their country of origin.
• Places unaccompanied aliens children affiliated with gangs in an “expedited” removal proceeding.
• Raises the standards for “credible fear of persecution” to “substantiated fear of persecution” for unaccompanied minors seeking asylum under the law.
• Places unaccompanied minors without claims for asylum on the next available flight to their home countries within 72 hours of an initial screening, barring cost, feasibility, repatriation agreements with the minors’ countries and the health and safety of the minor.
• Extends the bar to reentry for all illegal aliens to 10 years.
• Requires Secretary of Homeland Security to submit an annual report to Congress detailing voluntary departures, deportations, and grants of refugee or asylum status.
Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) is introducing the companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.