Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) introduced his Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act (H.R. 391) yesterday, which would narrow the “credible fear” standards that illegal aliens must meet in order to make an asylum claim. Rep. Chaffetz first introduced this bill in 2015 as a response to the surge of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) at the southern border.

A 2015 GAO report said that asylum claims have increased 130% from 2010 to 2014. The report also showed that while over 90% of these cases are approved only about 30% were fraud-free in 2013.

Due to Pres. Obama’s catch-and-release executive action once an illegal alien’s asylum claim has been accepted they are released into the U.S. with a work permit and access to welfare benefits while their case is pending. Many never show up for their hearing. For unaccompanied alien minors who do, about 60% had their claims approved in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2015.

The bill would:

  • Tighten the credible fear standard aliens must meet in an effort to curtail fraud and end the “catch and release” of aliens apprehended at the border;
  • Require immigration officers to order all illegal entrants removed upon screening, absent an asylum claim;
  • Cut foreign assistance to countries who resist repatriation of their illegal aliens;
  • Force the Department of Health and Human Services to cooperate in the deportation process by releasing to DHS the location of alien minors who are or have been in its custody;
  • Prohibit paying for lawyers for UACs in removal proceedings, which is the historical norm for all removal proceedings; and
  • Clarify that an alien is not considered a UAC if certain immediate relatives are available in the U.S.

Read Rep. Chaffetz press release here.

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Updated: Wed, Jan 11th 2017 @ 10:06am EST