FIRST ON FOX: House Republicans are re-introducing a bill that would dramatically ramp up the use of an existing, Clinton-era deportation authority to remove illegal immigrants who have recently entered the U.S. — as the clock counts down to the expiration of the Title 42 authority in May.
The American Safety and Fairness Through Expedited Removal (SAFER) Act, introduced by Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, removes some limits on expedited removal — an authority from 1996 that allows authorities to expel certain illegal immigrants
The legislation, first introduced in December, abolishes more recent limits that restrict the use of the authority to illegal immigrants who have been encountered within 100 miles of the border and have been in the county for two weeks or fewer. Consequently, DHS could deport any illegal immigrants anywhere in the U.S., as long as they had arrived in the last two years.
The Biden administration has said that the Title 42 public health order — which allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants at the border due to the COVID-19 pandemic — will end on May 11.
With that deadline looming, the Biden administration has been introducing a number of border measures to deal with what is expected to be a significant surge once the order ends. That includes a new rule to limit who can make asylum claims, and a humanitarian parole program to allow 30,000 migrants a month from some countries into the U.S.
But Republicans have argued the administration is not doing enough to solve the “catch-and-release” process of releasing migrants into the U.S. that they believe is at the core of the border crisis now in its third year.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Fallon said his bill will mean that illegal immigrants will no longer get a “get out of jail free card” from the removal process if they’ve traveled deeper into the interior.
“Our country is facing the massive ramifications of Biden’s Border Crisis. Month after month we continue to break records for apprehensions, gotaways, drug seizures, and much more while this administration systemically removes critical tools from law enforcement. This must end,” he said.
“The American SAFER Act returns power back to immigration authorities and law enforcement by restoring expedited removal to its original intent when created by Congress in 1996,” he added.
The bill has 11 co-sponsors that include Reps. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., Pete Sessions, R-Texas., Clay Higgins, R-La., Lance Gooden, R-Texas, Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, and Rep. Andy Biggs. R-Ariz.
The bill also has drawn support from immigration hawks. The Federation for American Immigration Reform said that a loophole in the initial authority “allowed the executive branch to implement it on such a narrow scale as to render it almost meaningless.”
“Successive administrations – Republican and Democrat alike – have whittled away the application of expedited removal while we have seen an explosion of illegal aliens crossing our southern border,” Dan Stein, FAIR’s president, said in a statement.
He noted that the bill still allows for asylum claims, while still allowing for the rapid removal of those who have entered the U.S. illegally: “This bill not only addresses the unsustainable population of illegal aliens already here, but also shuts off a magnet for future flows of illegal immigration.”
Multiple outlets reported this week that the Biden administration is considering reinstating a family detention policy at the border when Title 42 ends. A DHS spokesman said that “no decisions have been made as we prepare for the Title 42 Public Health Order to lift.”
“The Administration will continue to prioritize safe, orderly, and humane processing of migrants,” the spokesperson said.
Fox News Kate Sprague contributed to this report.