To Rep. Dan. Crenshaw (R-Texas), the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border is no joke, and he’s glad to see Republican leaders taking charge.
The Republican lawmaker told IJR that Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) immigration proposal is “absolutely necessary” in addressing the border crisis, which he says will be “hard for Democrats to find coherent arguments against it, considering the fact that it is very clear at this point that our asylum process is taken advantage of.”
Crenshaw — a former Navy SEAL — said he takes up the task of advocating to fix the U.S. immigration system because he’s “somebody who recognizes a very obvious problem and when there are very obvious solutions to that problem,” he believes “we should loudly advocate for that.”
With over 109,000 apprehensions at the southwest border in April alone, Crenshaw said immigrants are “taking advantage” of loopholes. Graham’s proposal, which IJR Red dove further into, would move asylum claims outside of the U.S.
“It’s hard to see who would be against that, right?” Crenshaw asked.
Under the new proposal, migrants would apply for asylum in their own country, which would cut down on attempts to illegally cross the border and overwhelm the system.
It would also change the Flores settlement, which was reached in 1997, by allowing the detention period for immigrant children and their families to be 100 days instead of 20 days, which Crenshaw applauded.
“If we’re able to keep people in custody, adjudicate their claims fairly as we are required to do by law, but if they don’t have a valid claim, send them immediately back. That will reverse this incentive. It’ll do what we need to do, really regain operational control of our border.”
The Texas Republican is ready to make a change to asylum claims, calling it the “most immediate issue,” even if that means it won’t be a comprehensive immigration overhaul.
“This will reverse the flow drastically and immediately if this is implemented quickly,” he said.
Crenshaw noted that comprehensive immigration reform, such as border security and shifting toward a “merit-based” system, is important. However, he said that while fixing U.S. asylum laws won’t “single-handedly […] resolve the crisis,” it will “have a huge impact.”
According to Crenshaw, moving to immigration policies that are similar to other countries such as Canada and Australia — which have “merit-based” systems — will allow the U.S. to “finally come out and say that we value skills, we value entrepreneurs, we value English speakers and people who understand what it means to be an American, and we actually give extra points according to that.”
Trump is proposing to replace the green card with the “Build America Visa” to recognize “extraordinary talents, professional, and specialized vocation, exceptional students,” Crenshaw noted.
The congressman said the new visa would solve “a lot of the problems that I think everyone can acknowledge — such as we train people here, we put them through grad school, then we send them right back. That doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
“I think we should favor higher-skilled workers and give them a leg-up over simple family ties, which is what our current system is,” he added.
Will there be bipartisan efforts?
It will all boil down to if congressional Democrats will come to an agreement with the president over the immigration plan. Crenshaw believes with some certainty that some Democrats won’t look at Trump’s plan or even have a discussion about it.
“They’ll have to come up with their own reasons as to why, but I think they’re going to have a harder time coming up with arguments against Sen. Graham’s plan,” he said, adding that it’s because “they have to acknowledge at this point there’s a crisis on the border.”
“It’s very clearly because people are coming across, they want to get caught, and they want to take advantage of our asylum processing.
Some Democrats simply do not care, some simply want more illegal immigrants here. So the more moderate Democrats who have long claimed that they are for border security and that they are for recognizing our country’s sovereignty and our ability to manage who comes in and out, they’re going to have a hard time explaining why they would be against this. That being said — it almost seems at this point that their real goal is open borders and complete free flow of immigration, which is really unfortunate because that’s not fair to Americans and that’s not fair to legal immigrants who did it the right way, it’s not fair to valid asylum seekers.”
As a representative from a border state, the congressman said he has seen how the massive surge of immigrants pressing at the southern border has hit his state “hard” and “completely overwhelmed” U.S. Border Patrol officials.
Crenshaw pointed out that this influx has an effect on the economy through taking away care from low-income Americans, such as a low-income hospital in Houston, where roughly 25 percent of the funds go to illegal immigrants.
Secondly, he added that more migrants in the school system affect low-income schools by not paying property taxes and filling up classrooms. Lastly, it costs a lot for courts, court fees, and law enforcement in the processing.
“There’s a real cost associated with this, and it’s not made up for by any taxes,” he said.
As for why fixing asylum laws and the immigration system is so important, Crenshaw points to “sovereignty.”
“Sovereignty and the ability to decide who comes in and out of our country, and manage our border,” he concluded. “It really is that simple, and if you don’t believe in that ability, then you don’t believe in a country.”