Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) had a simple explanation for why pouring foreign aid into Central America won’t solve the migrant crisis: Life is better in the United States.
The significantly better standard of living in the U.S. is why Graham doesn’t think a simple solution like more foreign aid or a border wall will do enough to stop the influx of migrants into the U.S.
He explained that migrants don’t really care about the laws of the U.S. because they are so flimsy and that dumping more aid into the Northern Triangle of Central America isn’t going to slow them down, either. Graham explained that the bigger problem is that migrants want to get caught because they can use the failing U.S. immigration system to their favor.
Watch Graham’s speech below:
“You could triple [foreign aid to Central America] and not stop this problem. So to those who want to give more money to Central America, it won’t stop the problem. They’re going to keep coming to the United States because life is better here than it is there. No amount of money is going to stop people from coming. No matter how high the wall will be built, no matter how many drones you have, no matter how many agents you put at the border, they’ll keep coming because they want to get caught.”
Graham explained that flawed asylum laws allow migrant families to stay in the U.S. to wait for their asylum hearing — which could be years away — and incentivizes smugglers to use children because they know they won’t be turned away.
The senator noted that smugglers are advertising that unaccompanied minors have a 98 percent chance of staying in the U.S. if the child makes it across the border — and the smugglers aren’t wrong.
As Graham explained and IJR previously reported, most immigration detention facilities are at capacity, forcing Border Patrol agents to release families into the U.S. until their court date — which 87 percent of families never show up to.
Despite the fact that Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spend their resources to keep these families safe when they arrive in the U.S., they’re still demonized by some Democrats:
“I’m willing to sit down with Democrats to find a way to address the underlying problem in Central America, I’m willing to put other immigration ideas on the table to marry up with this, but what I’m not willing to do is to ignore this problem any longer. If you look at this problem and you think the bad guys are the men and women at [the Department of Homeland Security], the Border Patrol, Labor [Health and Human Services], you’re missing the point. The bad people are the smugglers.”
Graham’s legislative proposal would force asylum seekers to file in their home country, close the loophole that prevents the U.S. from returning unaccompanied minors to Central America, extend the detention period for families from 20 days to 100 days, and add 500 more judges to expedite the legal process.