Senate Republican ideas for immigration reform

Most of the 17 points in this document involve very specific changes. Here are the ones which stand out for me:

“Safe third harbor”: makes aliens illegible for asylum if they have transited through at least one country outside their home country unless the aliens can show that they sought and were denied protection in each safe third country.

Parole reform: prohibits DHS from using broad class based criteria to grant humanitarian parole. Narrows the scope of the parole statute to clarify that payroll is to be used rarely. Limits grants and parole to one year with up to one year extension or shorter.

Family detention (referred to as “family unification”) requires that families with children are to be detained intact, vs the Flores settlement of  1997 which strictly limits the duration of detention of children.

Noteworthy is the absence of any effort to reduce the backlog of cases. About 70% of asylum cases are denied by immigration court. And the document does not address issues such as employment-based immigration.

Comment: The 1967 UN Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees doesn’t explicitly tells countries how to assess asylum applications; it requires them to apply the provisions of the 1951 Refugee Convention to refugees, which includes cooperation among countries on managing international refugees. The United States set for itself legal obligations to provide protection to those who qualify as refugees by incorporating the definition of a refugee from the 1951 Convention into U.S. immigration law through the Refugee Act of 1980. U.S. law requires the asylum seeker to be physically present in the United States or at a U.S. port of entry. The law is silent on how or where the person has entered the U.S.

The Tory government in the UK has been blocked by courts from sending ayslee applicants to Rwanda for processing. Italy is arranging with Albania to house ayslee applicants to Italy.

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