Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) outlined the details of what bipartisan lawmakers are discussing as part of a border security agreement being negotiated by senators.
Sinema, a top negotiator in the discussions, detailed some of what is being hashed out on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” She said proposals include ending the practice of “catch and release,” which allows migrants without proper documents to be released in the United States as their cases play out in court.
“We’ve all seen the images on television of what’s happening in Lukeville, Arizona, and in southern Texas, where large numbers of migrants are approaching the border and being processed and kind of released into the country, sometimes with a piece of paper called a notice to appear, where they may see a judge in five, seven, 10 years. No one knows,” Sinema said.
“Our law changes that and ends the practice of capture [and] release,” she added.
Migrants would instead be taken into short-term detention to be interviewed on whether they qualify for asylum, Sinema said. She said if they do not qualify for asylum, they will be sent back to their home country.
If the U.S. cannot detain the migrants, Sinema said the U.S. would supervise them for three months before interviewing them based on their asylum claims.
“And for folks that we can’t detain, like families, for instance, [we’ll] ensure that we’re supervising them over the course of just three months and conduct that interview with that new higher standard, requiring them to show more proof early on about whether or not they qualify for asylum and return them to their country if they do not have the evidence or the proof that they qualify for asylum,” Sinema said.
She also said a proposed deal would require the U.S. to shut down the border if it reaches 5,000 migrant encounters a day, a proposal other lawmakers have also floated. She called the proposals an “incredibly powerful tool” when it comes to immigration policy.
“We’re now mandating that the government actually shut down the border if those numbers get to 5,000 a day. But we’re permitting the government to actually shut down the border when it only gets to 4,000 approaches a day. And the reason we’re doing that is because we want to be able to shut down the system when it gets overloaded.”
“So we have enough time to process those asylum claims, whether it’s through detention, or whether it’s through supervision like for families,” she continued. “We want enough time for the government to be able to process these asylum claims, and then turn folks away who do not qualify.”