FederalImmigration & BorderIssuesTexas Congressional Republicans Propose Requiring More Deportations, Ending ‘Catch and Release’

Republicans in Texas’ congressional delegation presented their border security priorities as the GOP prepares to take control of the U.S. House.
December 12, 2022
In a news conference near the U.S. Capitol, Texas Republicans outlined their proposed reforms to deter illegal immigration and strengthen border security.

The lawmakers detailed their priorities last week as the GOP prepares to become the majority party in the U.S. House in January. There will likely be 222 Republicans in the chamber when the new Congress is sworn in.

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX-10) suggested the costs of illegal immigration are more severe than ever.

“I was the chief of counterterrorism and national security in the State of Texas, a U.S. attorney for many years after 9/11, and I saw the threats coming in. But I have never seen (the border) this bad,” McCaul said.

The following items are some of the proposals outlined in the Republican framework:

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  • Continue construction of the southern border wall.
  • Make the southern border more accessible to border police by clearing Carrizo cane and building more roadways.
  • Reinstate policies similar to former President Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy.
  • Remove funding from non-profit organizations that “promote dangerous and illegal activities,” including illegal immigration.
  • Repeal “catch and release” laws, including provisions of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act that allow the federal government to place unaccompanied minors with sponsors who are in the U.S. illegally as long as the minors in question are from countries other than Canada and Mexico.
  • Make changes to the asylum process to reduce fraudulent claims of persecution.
  • Create more stringent standards for the use of prosecutorial discretion and other methods the Biden administration has used to allow foreign nationals to live in the U.S. The document specifically condemns the broad use of “parole,” a legal mechanism to allow people into the U.S. for humanitarian reasons. The Biden administration has used parole to admit tens of thousands of Ukrainians and Venezuelans.
  • Require Immigration and Customs Enforcement to pursue deportation against virtually all removable illegal aliens, instead of the more lenient guidelines published by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
  • Categorize criminal cartels as foreign terrorist organizations and increase criminal penalties for human trafficking and drug trafficking. Specifically, the document points to fentanyl trafficking and bewails the fact that the average sentence for fentanyl trafficking is 61 months in federal prison in 2020 as opposed to 74 months in 2018.

The framework addresses the Biden administration’s efforts to provide assistance to those seeking asylum in the U.S.

“The asylum process — though critical to those who are actually fleeing persecution — is being widely abused,” the document reads.

“A majority claiming asylum are ineligible for relief under the law — yet thousands of individuals claim fear or request asylum only to be released into the U.S. ‘pending adjudication’ of their claim. The USCIS official website even lays out how to abuse this.”

In an interview with The Texan on Friday, former Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan highlighted the risks to national security and public safety that illegal immigration poses.

“The fact is right now that the next terrorist sleeper cell could already be in the United States planning the next terrorist attack, and we would have no idea because they were part of the 1.3 million got-aways from 160 different countries,” Morgan told The Texan.

The former commissioner referenced a thwarted plot to assassinate President George W. Bush.

“We also know that last year, the FBI disrupted and prevented a terrorist attack to assassinate the former sitting president, President Bush. How were they going to carry that out? By smuggling additional terrorists through the wide-open southwest border,” Morgan said.

Morgan recommended a series of policies that would reduce illegal immigration, including resurrecting the “Remain in Mexico” policy, reimplementing the Asylum Cooperative Agreements, addressing the asylum system as Republicans proposed, rescinding the loosened deportation guidelines implemented by Mayorkas, and restarting the border wall project on the southern border.

Instituted during the Trump administration, the Asylum Cooperative Agreements were designed to “enhance” border security by increasing coordination with El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, including to “expand asylum capabilities and improve safety, security, and prosperity throughout the region.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the termination of the agreements in February 2021.

“The Biden administration believes there are more suitable ways to work with our partner governments to manage migration across the region,” the Department of State said at the time.

The federal government is contending with a historic level of illegal immigration. The Washington Examiner reported on Monday that the Biden administration has requested $3 billion from Congress to help respond to the expected surge of illegal immigration when Title 42 expulsions end next week.

Some Republicans have also floated the idea of investigating or even impeaching Mayorkas in the coming Congress.

A copy of the Republican border security framework can be found below.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."