While the White House and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) work to craft new immigration reform legislation, POTUS on Monday issued a presidential memorandum to Attorney General William Barr and acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan detailing a series of measures to strengthen the U.S.’s immigration laws.
“Our immigration and asylum system is in crisis as a consequence of the mass migration of aliens across our southern border,” the memo states. “In Proclamation 9844 of February 15, 2019, I declared a national emergency to address the security and humanitarian crisis at that border. That emergency continues to grow increasingly severe.”
The memorandum is intended to “safeguard our system against rampant abuse,” it continues. In particular, the memo directs officials to charge a fee to process asylum and employment authorization applications:
Propose regulations setting a fee for an asylum application not to exceed the costs of adjudicating the application … and other applicable statutes, and setting a fee for an initial application for employment authorization for the period an asylum claim is pending.
The president gave officials 90 days to develop the new regulations ensuring that asylum applications are adjudicated within 180 days, “absent exceptional circumstances.” According to The New York Times, “more than 800,000 cases are pending, with an average wait time of almost two years.”
In addition, the memo seeks to bar anyone who enters or attempts to enter the U.S. illegally from being able to obtain a provisional work permit. Also, work authorizations are to be revoked from any illegal immigrant who is denied asylum and ordered to be removed from the country.
The president tweeted Monday night that if Democrats continue blocking any effort to fix the nation’s immigration laws, Republicans must make enough gains in 2020 to win back the House and keep the Senate.
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