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senate Bill S. 3372

Should Asylum Seekers Undergo 'Credible Fear' Screenings Before Entering the U.S.?

Argument in favor

The volume of asylum-seekers applying for refuge in the U.S. is currently overwhelming the courts, creating a risk of unqualified claims being approved. The U.S. should protect itself from false asylum claims so as not to overwhelm our domestic social services and only allow those with legitimate credible fear claims to stay.

SneakyPete's Opinion
···
12/29/2018
🤷🏼‍♂️👍🏻 S. 3372 AKA the Asylum Abuse Reduction Act 🤷‍♀️👍🏻 I’m strongly support and recommend the passage of the SENATE bill S. 3372 AKA the Asylum Abuse Reduction Act, would require asylum officers at U.S. embassies and consulates to conduct credible fear screenings before admitting unauthorized immigrants entering from Canada or Mexico who are seeking asylum into the United States. Under this process, immigration officers wouldn’t be able to admit unauthorized immigrants into the U.S., and would instead have to instruct them to schedule an asylum hearing with the most convenient U.S. embassy in Canada or Mexico. During these hearings, asylum officers would conduct in-person interviews to determine whether the unauthorized immigrant meets the requirements to be granted asylum in the U.S. Unauthorized immigrants could be granted asylum if they: * Had been persecuted in their country of origin on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion; * Or would be subject to torture if they returned to their country of origin. The volume of asylum-seekers applying for refuge in the U.S. is currently overwhelming the courts, creating a risk of unqualified claims being approved. The U.S. should protect itself from false asylum claims so as not to overwhelm our domestic social services and only allow those with legitimate credible fear claims to stay. SneakyPete..... 🤷🏼‍♂️👍🏻🤷‍♀️👍🏻. 12*29*18.....
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B.R.'s Opinion
···
12/29/2018
I think this effort is a start to improving the process at the border, especially for those who are truly seeking asylum, regardless of how many. In the interim, it is obvious that the border needs to be more secured. The type of barrier should be left to the border security team. It is clear that the arguments in Congress is political grandstanding, which is getting tiresome.
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RAN's Opinion
···
12/29/2018
Immigration, legal immigration is supposed to be about bringing good people here that will benefit our society. Being broke, non educated, people with no drive, other than getting free hand outs is a mistake. Look at that police officer just killed by an ILLEGAL ALIEN, he strived and push hard to come and be part of America, he wanted to serve, so he learned the language before coming here, made his accent minimal to be understood over a radio. That was a true American. Left a wife a five month old. But for some reason democrats think it’s good to have criminal, uneducated, people who have no respect for life. Well we know why it’s a voting block. Where we screwed up is taking so called asylum people, fix your own country stay there and fight, that’s what your supposed to do.
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Argument opposed

The number of false asylum applications is small, and the increase in asylum-seekers in recent years is directly attributable to crises both globally and in Central America. Rather than turning away asylum-seekers, the U.S. should seek to help those who have credible fears of returning home to violence and worse.

Chickie's Opinion
···
12/29/2018
Because scaring the bejeebus out of people, who have faced untold atrocities is always a good go-to plan! No, absolutely not! This bill mentions Canadians seeking asylum. That is a smokescreen. #45 has let it be known he is prejudice when it comes to those from Latin America. Any white person applying will have the red carpet spread before them. Any person of color, who speak with accents, will be detained in detention, (concentration), camps. Perhaps a field trip to Ellis Island is needed for this administration? Our foundation was not built on threats, violence, or fear tactics. Countries who practice such ways are run by Dictators; which seems to be the end game #45 has wanted all along.
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IllWill's Opinion
···
12/29/2018
This legislation smells of racism and xenophobia. The U.S. already has some of the most stringent vetting processes in the world. Sen. Inhofe and scum like him are just trying to keep out people that don’t look like your everyday American. It’s disgraceful!
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Marian 's Opinion
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12/29/2018
The court system is already set up to do this—after the person’s safety is secured. Do not adopt a new unnecessary barrier.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedAugust 23rd, 2018

What is Senate Bill S. 3372?

This bill, the Asylum Abuse Reduction Act, would require asylum officers at U.S. embassies and consulates to conduct credible fear screenings before admitting unauthorized immigrants entering from Canada or Mexico who are seeking asylum into the United States. Under this process, immigration officers wouldn’t be able to admit unauthorized immigrants into the U.S., and would instead have to instruct them to schedule an asylum hearing with the most convenient U.S. embassy in Canada or Mexico. During these hearings, asylum officers would conduct in-person interviews to determine whether the unauthorized immigrant meets the requirements to be granted asylum in the U.S. Unauthorized immigrants could be granted asylum if they: Had been persecuted in their country of origin on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion; or would be subject to torture if they returned to their country of origin.

Failure to show up for immigration court would result in a bench warrant for an unauthorized immigrant’s arrest.

This bill would also make the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS Secretary) responsible for establishing an alternatives to detention pilot program. Under such a program, unauthorized immigrants could be released into the supervision of qualified organizations with federal government contracts to facilitate their compliance with all stages of their immigration proceedings.

Unauthorized immigrants could only participate in the pilot program if they:

  • Certify that they will comply with all stages of the immigration proceedings, including removal, if ordered;

  • Acknowledge that they are only entitled to a single appeal of an immigration judge’s decision; and

  • Sign a privacy waiver.

Unauthorized immigrants who fail to comply with the requirements of the pilot program could be subject to arrest, detention, and expedited removal proceedings.

The DHS Secretary, in consultation with the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), would be responsible for developing performance metrics for organizations that run pilot programs. These metrics would include rates of absconsion, arrest, completion of immigration cases, and any other metrics that the Secretary determines measure compliance with performance standards. If an organization running a pilot program failed to comply with performance standards, the DHS Secretary could require it to return funds paid to it during the noncompliance period, terminate its contract, or impose any other penalty authorized by the contract.

Finally, the DHS Secretary would submit a report to to the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate, the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives on the implementation of the alternatives to detention pilot program.

Impact

U.S. asylum officers; Department of Homeland Security; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate; Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate; Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives; Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives; Secretary of Homeland Security; and Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 3372

A CBO cost estimate for this bill is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSen. James Inhofe (R-OK) introduced this bill to complement the president’s plan to build a wall by addressing immigration loopholes to strengthen the asylum process’ integrity and ensure it is only used by individuals who are genuinely seeking asylum:

“We need to build the wall along the southern border, but we also need to close all of the loopholes that illegal aliens use to come into this country. Smugglers and illegal aliens have attempted to use false claims of asylum to gain entry to the United States. By reforming our asylum process, we can minimize false asylum claims, ease the backlog on our immigration courts and end ‘catch and release’—all while improving the process for those who truly need it. My legislation is just one part of improving our nation’s border security. Paired with building the wall, increasing support for ICE and Customs and Border Patrol and eliminating sanctuary cities, we can make a meaningful reform to improve our immigration process and protect American families.”

Andrew Arthur, a former immigration judge and current fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for lower levels of immigration, is skeptical about the validity of many credible fear claims, arguing that “credible fear” has become an overly broad legal “catchall for truly inventive lawyers.” Arthur praises efforts to tighten the asylum application process, saying, “One, it is going to streamline the system. Two, it's going to cut down on the number of claims that are inevitably going to be found to be invalid."

The Trump administration asserts that asylum policies are currently broken and subject to “rampant abuse and fraud.” President Trump has made tighter controls of the asylum process and elevating the threshold standard of proof in credible fear interviews part of his list of immigration principles and policies.

In an October 2017 speech at the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said too many immigrants were taking advantage of the rules and urged Congress to pass legislation to make it harder for asylum petitions to be granted. AG Sessions called the current policy wherein unauthorized immigrants whom federal officials determine to have a “credible fear” of returning to their home countries are released before immigration proceeding hearings a “loophole” in the law. AG Sessions advocated for imposing and enforcing penalties for “baseless” asylum applications, elevating the threshold standard of proof in credible fear interviews, and expanding the ability to return asylum seekers to safe third countries. Further, Sessions called many people’s credible fear claims simply a “ruse to enter the country illegally.”

However, there is no data that proves AG Sessions’ claim of fewer meritorious asylum claims. Lindsay M. Harris, an assistant professor of law and co-director of the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic at the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law, argues that the increase in asylum claims is a natural result of the increase in refugees on a global level, as well as the proximity of the U.S. to Central America, where gang violence and poverty have pushed thousands out in recent years:

“Indeed, there has certainly been an increase in asylum claims — but this corresponds with the increase in refugees around the world. One of the humanitarian crises producing refugees happens to be south of our border, and this accounts for the exponential increase in asylum claims and individuals seeking protection in the U.S. through the credible fear system, rather than a sudden increase in fraudulent claims… [The increase in people seeking asylum is] very much based on the humanitarian crisis in Central America.”

Harris counters Sessions’ claim that individuals who never show up to their immigration hearings, or even file an asylum application after arriving in the U.S., do so because their claims lack merit, or their claims of fear were ruses to enter the U.S. illegally. Instead, Harris says, the problem is lack of clarity about the asylum application process. According to Harris, asylum seekers are released with “very little orientation” of what’s expected next, and many think articulating their case to asylum officers, and others think they have already been granted asylum upon their release.

Geoffrey A. Hoffman, director of the University of Houston Law Centers Immigration Clinic, sums up the issue: “The issue of fraud in individual cases should not overshadow the reality which is that grants of asylum are extremely low, especially for applicants who are not represented by counsel.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who visited the federal detention center in SeaTac, Washington to look at conditions, disagrees with the characterization that the 174 immigrant women detained at that facility are fraudulent asylum seekers:

“What I heard from the women today being held at the detention center was heartbreaking… They spoke of fleeing threats of rape, gang violence and political persecution. They spoke of their children who have been killed by gangs and their fear of being raped. The mothers could not stop crying when they spoke about their children – young girls and boys who were taken from them with no chance to say goodbye and no plan for reunification. Of the 206 immigrants being held [at SeaTac], 174 are women. I spent almost three hours meeting with the women, almost all of whom are asylum seekers. They come from 16 different countries with the largest numbers from Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Over a third of the women were mothers who had been forcibly separated from their children, who range in age from 1-year-old to teenagers. The vast majority of the mothers have not spoken with their children in weeks and they have no idea where they are. Most have been held in detention for more than two weeks and many for over a month…  It is outrageous that Department of Homeland Security is violating human rights and our international legal obligations under human rights law to swiftly and humanely process asylum seekers. I will also continue to push to defund ICE, to completely reform the immigration detention system and end mass prosecutions by the Department of Justice, and defund any Department of Homeland Security programs that break up families. What I saw today is simply not who, we, as a country should be. This is cruel and inhumane treatment and we cannot allow it to continue on our watch.”

Human Rights First, a group that provides pro bono legal assistance to refugees, calls the characterization of asylum seekers as “threats and frauds” baseless. The organization’s senior director, Eleanor Acer, says, “these individuals are not criminals. They are mothers, teenagers, and children desperate to escape violence and persecution.” Jeremy McKinney, an immigration lawyer in North Carolina and secretary of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, adds that asylum-seekers are “amongst the most vulnerable people in our society,” and that “to have their rights curtailed so that the system moves faster I think should be considered a moral outrage.”


Of NoteThis bill is a complement to another bill authored by Sen. Inhofe, the WALL Act of 2018. That bill would fully fund the border wall that President Trump called for in his 2016 election campaign by reducing spending on welfare and tax credits for unauthorized immigrants in the U.S.

From 2014 to 2016, the U.S. has seen a 234% increase in asylum applications, generating a backlog in immigration courts. Currently, unauthorized migrants who cross the border and declare asylum are released pending credible fear screenings and other legal procedures — but they often fail to show up for proceedings, never completing the asylum process. In 2017, DHS reported that over 40,000 unauthorized immigrants never appeared for their court proceedings. At present, when asylum applicants fail to show up for court, their information is not entered into police databases.

In fiscal year 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) decided on nearly 93,000 credible fear cases, establishing fear in about 78% of cases. For comparison, the agency reviewed over 5,000 cases in fiscal year 2009.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Brad Greeff)

AKA

Asylum Abuse Reduction Act

Official Title

A bill to require asylum officers to conduct credible fear screenings before admitting aliens seeking asylum into the United States, to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish an alternatives to detention pilot program, and for other purposes.

    🤷🏼‍♂️👍🏻 S. 3372 AKA the Asylum Abuse Reduction Act 🤷‍♀️👍🏻 I’m strongly support and recommend the passage of the SENATE bill S. 3372 AKA the Asylum Abuse Reduction Act, would require asylum officers at U.S. embassies and consulates to conduct credible fear screenings before admitting unauthorized immigrants entering from Canada or Mexico who are seeking asylum into the United States. Under this process, immigration officers wouldn’t be able to admit unauthorized immigrants into the U.S., and would instead have to instruct them to schedule an asylum hearing with the most convenient U.S. embassy in Canada or Mexico. During these hearings, asylum officers would conduct in-person interviews to determine whether the unauthorized immigrant meets the requirements to be granted asylum in the U.S. Unauthorized immigrants could be granted asylum if they: * Had been persecuted in their country of origin on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion; * Or would be subject to torture if they returned to their country of origin. The volume of asylum-seekers applying for refuge in the U.S. is currently overwhelming the courts, creating a risk of unqualified claims being approved. The U.S. should protect itself from false asylum claims so as not to overwhelm our domestic social services and only allow those with legitimate credible fear claims to stay. SneakyPete..... 🤷🏼‍♂️👍🏻🤷‍♀️👍🏻. 12*29*18.....
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    Because scaring the bejeebus out of people, who have faced untold atrocities is always a good go-to plan! No, absolutely not! This bill mentions Canadians seeking asylum. That is a smokescreen. #45 has let it be known he is prejudice when it comes to those from Latin America. Any white person applying will have the red carpet spread before them. Any person of color, who speak with accents, will be detained in detention, (concentration), camps. Perhaps a field trip to Ellis Island is needed for this administration? Our foundation was not built on threats, violence, or fear tactics. Countries who practice such ways are run by Dictators; which seems to be the end game #45 has wanted all along.
    Like (159)
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    This legislation smells of racism and xenophobia. The U.S. already has some of the most stringent vetting processes in the world. Sen. Inhofe and scum like him are just trying to keep out people that don’t look like your everyday American. It’s disgraceful!
    Like (89)
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    The court system is already set up to do this—after the person’s safety is secured. Do not adopt a new unnecessary barrier.
    Like (78)
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    This would move the “traffic jam” to our embassies, which then could not function. Beef up our ability to conduct them at the border crossing stations. 100 a day across the entire US border is like Walmart cashiers.
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    Get them out of danger first, THEN determine how real that danger might be.
    Like (47)
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    This is just ridiculous. We had a decent but not perfect system before this manufactured panic. Americans have more to fear from white supremacists who are citizens.
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    Asylum seekers are legal. They can undergo credible fear screening after they are here - after they have a medical check and are given water and food. Have some decency.
    Like (39)
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    I have to hand it to the Republicans. They continue to be creative in ways to restrict the entry of refugees and asylum seekers, and to enhance white nationalist goals. I’m coming to believe that xenophobia, hate, and adoption of white nationalist beliefs have become prerequisite for membership in the Republican Party. When refugees have been assigned case workers at time of contact their application process generally goes smoothly, they are far more likely to return for their hearings, and more effectively manage to deal with a system designed for them to fail. Why do the Republicans demonstrate so much hate for the values of this country? The United States was founded as a liberal democracy. Large numbers of citizens, politicians, and political leaders openly reject those values.
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    This is just another attempt to demonize people seeking help.
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    I read the reasons FOR. THIS IS NOT AMERICA. The whole idea of a “Credible risk” policy, as described, brings up the images of millions of Jews being executed for their religion. And under an administration such as we have now — relying on, lauding, emulating, and, ultimately, seeking authoritarian rule, toward Venezuelan-style Dictatorship — there is little doubt that we would be living under such rule in short order, given free reign.
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    I think this effort is a start to improving the process at the border, especially for those who are truly seeking asylum, regardless of how many. In the interim, it is obvious that the border needs to be more secured. The type of barrier should be left to the border security team. It is clear that the arguments in Congress is political grandstanding, which is getting tiresome.
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    This law would be asking asylum seekers to put on a show of histeria until they’re let in. Please don’t escalate the situation there with more drama.
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    The number of false asylum claims is small. We need to speed up the process to help people, not bog it down by interrogating people who have already been terrorized.
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    I don’t believe that ICE would be able to see beyond their ever present fear of anyone non white or non English speaking. To allow them a subjective interview to refuse entry is just another of fear monger trumps twisted attempts at turning this country into a dictatorship.
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    No one in Canada is going to be seeking asylum in the USA. It’s the other way around. Or did we conveniently forget the majority people crossing the border at Canada and applying for asylum are from AMERICA and are FLEEING BECAUSE OF TRUMP. In 2017, some 2,550 US citizens applied for asylum in Canada – an increase of more than sixfold from 2016 and the largest such number since at least 1994, according to data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
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    Here’s an idea. Get a focus group of immigrants who have gone through the process and ask them: how do we stop illegal entry into the US?, and how do we improve the process for those seeking asylum? Or else get a bunch of seventh graders together and ask them the same questions. You might be surprised at the answers.
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    Another cruel, stupid, heartless idea - made by a Repugnant, of course! Where are the infrastructure, education, water, air, green energy, etc., bills we need? Haven’t see one since the Repugnants took charge. Just bull coming out of them, generally. Nothing of substance at all! Sad and disgusting!
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    Only if republikkkans are screened for credible fear before being allowed to vote. They are xenophobic idiots being scared into voting against anything good for anyone else by believing lies told by their fear mongering “leaders”.
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    idk should the president be required to have political experience
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