Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, traveled to Mexico City on March 20 with the U.S. congressional delegation to meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and members of his administration.
The bipartisan congressional delegation discussed issues including efforts to curb illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, stop illegal drug trafficking and continue a U.S.-Mexico economic partnership.
Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican senator from Texas, led the delegation.
“The United States and Mexico share a common border, which means we should have a shared interest in working together to address the security challenges that put American and Mexican lives at risk, including drugs, murderous cartels and unchecked migration,” Cornyn said in a recent press release. “Our delegation made clear to President López Obrador that his administration must do more to address these issues.”
Lee sat down with his communications director to talk about his trip to Mexico City. The senator spoke about remarks given in Spanish about powerful symbols for both Mexico and the U.S. encouraging unity that received applause.
Lee’s visit to Mexico City followed shortly after he presented a new immigration reform policy to Congress titled the “Stopping Border Surges Act.” Lee hopes this bill would stop the surge of illegal immigrants entering the U.S.
The Stopping Border Surges Act, or SB685, seeks to close loopholes that encourage illegal immigration into the U.S.
Part of current U.S. Immigration Law includes the Flores Settlement, a 1997 Supreme Court decision that further regulated the treatment and conditions of unaccompanied children under the age of 18 in federal immigration custody. The Flores Settlement prohibits the government from holding children under the age of 18 for more than 20 days.
According to a summary released by Lee, the Stopping Border Surges Act would allow children to be held with their parents for the duration of the adult’s legal proceedings, thus stopping the expansion of the Flores Settlement.
“This would end the incentive for non-parents to claim an unknown child as their own and help to eliminate the danger to alien children,” Lee’s summary said.
The Stopping Border Surges Act would likewise promote transparency in the Department of Homeland Security, restrict asylum to non-citizens who arrive at a U.S. port of entry and increase penalties for individuals who make false statements in asylum proceedings.
“Loopholes in our immigration system perversely compel women and children to entrust their savings, futures and lives to cartels and coyotes — endangering the safety of vulnerable immigrants, and undermining the integrity of our system. This bill would help stop these dangerous opportunities for abuse,” Lee said in a press release.
In a press release, Katie Britt, an Alabama Senator who cosponsors the bill, said “bad actors” such as drug cartels are the only ones benefiting from the current immigration loopholes.
“Our nation is facing a historic national security and humanitarian crisis at the border. We must end the incentives and close the loopholes that are pushing people to illegally enter our country,” Britt said.
Lee introduced the bill along with 11 other Senators from states including Texas, Alabama, Montana, Iowa, Tennessee, Arizona, Kansas, South Carolina and Indiana.
Lee read the Stopping Border Surges Act to the Senate on March 7, and the bill currently awaits review at the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.