Lindsey Graham: We Need To Change The Laws That Attract So Many Illegal Immigrants From Central America


This week on FNC's "Sunday Morning Futures," Sen. Lindsey Graham said he plans to introduce a new legislative proposal to reform asylum and immigration laws:

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: Three weeks ago the Democrats were saying this was a manufactured crisis, now they don't want these folks dropped off in Oakland or San Francisco. So the good news for the country is that both parties see this as a real crisis. If I were the president I'd send military troops to the border as soon as I could, in large numbers.

We're never going to stop this by just having walls and troops at the border, we have to change our laws so these people stop coming. There is a narrative in Central America that if you can get to America with a minor child you will never get deported. We have to change that storyline...

I’m tired of talking about this problem, I want to fix it. I think all Americans should want both parties to fix this problem. The president has correctly identified the crisis at the border, now it’s time to have a legislative solution. You need to change our laws for this to stop, so I’ll be introducing the package, and hopefully with Democratic support that will change our asylum laws. 90 percent of people who apply for asylum never make it, so the standard needs to change. We have a court decision called the Flores decision that says you can only hold a minor child 20 days. If a family comes here with a minor child, we release the entire family after 20 days, because we don't have bed space, so we need to change that decision. And also we have a quirk in our law that if you're from Central America, you cannot be sent back home as a minor child, because of the law on the books that prohibits sending children back from nine contiguous countries so the only place we can send a child back to is Mexico and Canada. We need to be sending these kids back to Central America where they come from. So I'm going to put a legislative package together right after the break. We're going to mark it up in the Judiciary Committee and we're going to get on with solving this problem...

I hope we do more than just vote – I hope we solve the problem. The administration is going around Congress talking to Democrats about what they want if we do change the laws, what would they like in return. I'm going to try to find a compromise here. The president is a great deal maker but doing what we're doing is not working. The crisis has to come to an end and the only way to bring it to an end is to change our laws, and I'll be introducing a package to change the laws that attract so many illegal immigrants from Central America, and hopefully, we'll get Democratic support...

Number one, we're part of the International Asylum Treaty that gives people asylum when they're under threat of life and limb. Under international law, you're supposed to apply for asylum in the first safe country you go to, which would be Mexico, if you're from Honduras, Guatemala, or El Salvador. So the president is putting pressure on Mexico to stop these caravans, but if you get one foot in the United States and you read your card claiming asylum you're entitled to a hearing. We don't have bed space to hold you until that hearing date, so we release you into the country, and people never come back for the hearing, so let's toughen up our asylum standard. If 90 percent are failing to meet the standard, the standard needs to change. So that's number one. Number two, the Flores decision needs to change. It's impossible to do a hearing in 20 days, so we're going to try to change the time you can hold an unaccompanied minor, or a minor child, beyond 20 days because if you come up with a family and you've got minor kids in the family, we release the whole family in 20 days because you don't want to separate families. So we need to fix the Flores decision. Finally, there's a quirk in the law that if you're from Central America as a minor child, we can't send you back. We need to change that law so we can send them back to Central America where they came from.

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