Glaring loopholes in US immigration laws are responsible for the surge of unaccompanied minors and families crossing the southern border, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday.
“It is no coincidence that these two groups — unaccompanied minors and family units — are crossing the border at an alarming rate. Our immigration laws require that both unaccompanied children and family units be released into the interior of the United States after apprehension,” Graham (R-SC) said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on border security.
“This is due to two legal loopholes . . . the Flores settlement agreement and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Flores requires children, or . . . family units, to be released after 20 days in custody,” said Graham, the committee’s chair.
Graham, like President Trump, wants the Flores agreement to be scuttled or modified to allow for longer detentions.
“The TVPRA requires unaccompanied alien children from noncontiguous countries to be released to Health and Human Services care facilities instead of being sent back to their countries of origin,” he said.
Under the act, children from Mexico and Canada can be returned to their countries — but the provision doesn’t apply to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, an omission Graham wants fixed.
“I have worked for over a decade to fix our nation’s broken immigration system. If we do not fix these two legal loopholes, then we are only continuing to fuel the smuggling of persons . . . These laws incentivize smugglers to exploit migrants who seek to come to the United States and stay,” he warned.
By Marisa Schultz and Bob Fredericks for NEW YORK POST
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