WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), along with nine other Senate Republican colleagues, in introducing the Secure the Border Act of 2023. This bill passed the House of Representatives as H.R.2. The Secure the Border Act will resume construction on the wall, tighten asylum standards, criminalize visa overstays, increase the number of Border Patrol Agents, defund Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) receiving tax dollars to help traffic illegal aliens throughout the heartland, prohibit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from using its app to resettle illegal aliens, and more.
“The Biden Administration has created an unprecedented humanitarian and national security crisis on our southern border,” said Senator Hagerty. “This has fueled a flood of fentanyl coming into our country, which is predominantly driving the drug overdoses killing more than 100,000 Americans per year, as well as dangerous and tragic criminal activity like human trafficking and smuggling. I’m pleased to join this legislation to reverse Biden policies and require comprehensive border security to protect our nation and curb illegal immigration.”
“Under Joe Biden, we have a wide-open southern border,” said Senator Cruz. “The Biden Border Crisis has created the largest illegal immigration crisis in our nation’s history. Biden’s open borders are an invitation for the cartels to brutalize children, to assault women, to overrun our communities with illegal aliens, and to flood this country with narcotics and fentanyl that kill over 100,000 people per year. This bill would stop the Biden Border Crisis dead in its tracks by building the wall, ratcheting up asylum standards, increasing the number of Border Patrol Agents, and implementing effective border security policies.”
The Secure the Border Act:
- Requires the Department of Homeland Security to resume border wall construction.
- Increases the number of Border Patrol Agents.
- Tightens asylum standards by restricting asylum to only aliens who present at ports of entry and by requiring aliens to prove they are “more likely than not” to qualify for their asylum claim.
- Narrows DHS’s power to unilaterally grant parole to illegal aliens.
- Criminalizes visa overstays by making the first offense a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and the second offense a felony punishable by up to a $2,000 fine and up to two years imprisonment.
- Stops NGOs from using tax dollars to transport or lodge illegal aliens and provide illegal aliens with lawyers.
- Restricts DHS from using its CBP One app to welcome illegal aliens into the country.
- Requires employers to use E-Verify.
- Ensures CBP has access to the criminal history databases of all countries of origin and transit so that CBP is aware of the criminal history of illegal aliens encountered at the southern border.
Full text of the legislation can be found here.