Arrington Introduces SCREEN Act to Expedite Deportation of Illegal Immigrants with Non-Credible Asylum Claims
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Jodey Arrington (TX-19) announced the introduction of HR 4202, the Securing Comprehensive Review in Entry Enforcement Now (SCREEN) Act, which will expedite the deportation of migrants making false or erroneous asylum claims and reduce the number of illegal immigrants who are caught and released into the interior of the country. The SCREEN Act would allow Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers to conduct “credible fear” tests of asylum seekers when they first arrive at the southern border of the United States, which will help reduce overcrowding at detention facilities and lessen the immigration court backlog.
Currently, asylum seekers are either placed in detention centers or released due to limited capacity before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials conduct an initial “credible fear” interview. During the “credible fear” interview, asylum seekers must demonstrate a “significant possibility” of persecution in their country of origin before being referred to an immigration court for final adjudication of their asylum claim.
The SCREEN Act would significantly reduce the burden on immigration officials and stress on the overall system by removing non-credible asylum seekers from CBP’s custody and alleviating the extensive backlog – approximately 800,000 cases currently – which has overwhelmed U.S. immigration courts and expanded instances of catch and release.
“When it comes to welcoming immigrants, the United States is the most generous and compassionate nation in the world, but allowing for open borders and illegal immigration to persist is not compassionate for anyone, including those who are risking the safety of themselves and their families by taking the dangerous trek to come to America. The SCREEN Act will ensure that our already overwhelmed immigration system does not get further bogged down by those who abuse it,” said Arrington.
“Not only will the SCREEN Act alleviate bureaucratic inefficiencies in the asylum process, it will also help reduce the troubling number of asylum seekers who have been released into the interior of our country, ensuring that migrants who do not have credible fear claims are not allowed in the United States in the first place. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate, as well as the Trump Administration, to advance this legislative fix, which will fill a critical gap and close a loophole in our dysfunctional immigration process.”
To read the full text of the SCREEN Act, click here.
- From 2017-2018, the number of “credible fear” claims among those apprehended at the southern border increased by 67% from 55,584 to 92,959, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
- In 2019, judges granted asylum in only 17% of cases decided in immigration court where migrants had passed “credible fear” interviews.
- According to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan’s June 11th, 2019 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a DHS pilot program found that 90% of asylum seekers miss their court dates and receive final orders for removal in absentia.
- CBP agents authorized to conduct “credible fear” interviews will be subject to the same standards as USCIS officers, including requirements to:
- Conduct two-hour interviews
- Process 3-4 claims per day
- Receive final approval from USCIS on final disposition of each case