the WHITE HOUSEPresident Donald J. Trump

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Secure the Border by Deterring and Swiftly Removing Illegal Entrants

COMPLETE CONSTRUCTION OF THE BORDER WALL: Build a southern border wall and authorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to raise fees from the processing of immigration-benefit applications and border-crossings to be used for security and infrastructure.

• A meaningful physical barrier on our southern border is vital to prevent infiltration by cartels, criminals, traffickers, smugglers, and threats to both public safety and national security. 

• In 2006, Congress passed legislation to secure the border with a double-layer fence but the promised barrier was not constructed.

• The inability to spend immigration fees on core law enforcement functions impedes security on both the southern and northern borders.

ENSURE PROMPT REMOVAL OF MINORS & RELATIVES CROSSING BORDER ILLEGALY: Ensure the swift return of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) and family units by amending current laws that require authorities to release them en masse into the United States.

• Every year, tens of thousands of illegal aliens – some traveling with their parents – are caught after illegally crossing the border, only to be quickly released into our country.  This is one of the largest loopholes in U.S. border security.

o Approximately 38,500 UACs and 71,500 members of family units have been apprehended at the southern border this fiscal year – the vast majority were released. 

• Under current law, UACs from countries other than Canada and Mexico are exempt from expedited removal. 

• Because of these loopholes, few UACs who illegally enter the country are ever returned home.

o The number of UACs removed in FY 2016 represented approximately 4 percent of all UACs released into the country that same year.

END ASYLUM ABUSE: Tighten standards (including the “credible fear” standard), impose penalties for fraud, and ensure applicants are not released while their claims are verified.

• Chronic asylum fraud and loopholes allow illegal immigrants to gain quick and easy entry.

• Lax legal standards for claiming asylum has led to a backlog of 270,000 affirmative asylum cases with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and 250,000 in the Immigration Courts.

• Misguided judicial decisions have prevented the removal of numerous criminal aliens, while also rendering those aliens eligible to apply for asylum and other forms of relief from removal.

REDUCE MASSIVE COURT BACKLOG THAT CRIPPLES BORDER SECURITY: Expand our capabilities to deal with the ongoing crisis of illegal border crossings through expedited removal. 

Border security will be impossible as long as we have an immigration court backlog of over 600,000 cases, preventing the removal of illegal border-crossers.  It takes an average of 682 days to complete a single immigration case.  Proper tools to improve our border security include:

o Expanding and strengthening the expedited removal process; 

o Hiring an additional 370 Immigration Judges and 1,000 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorneys;

o Establishing performance metrics for Immigration Judges; and 

o Discouraging illegal re-entry by enhancing penalties and expanding categories of inadmissibility.