Sen. Mike Lee meets with Mexico’s president after introducing new immigration reform to Senate

U.S. Sen. Mike Lee talks to supporters in South Jordan in June 2022. Lee visited Mexico’s President in Mexico City on March 20, 2023 as part of bipartisan congressional delegation to discuss issues affecting Mexico-U.S. relations. (George Frey/AP Photo)

Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, traveled to Mexico City on March 20 with a U.S. congressional delegation to meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and members of his administration.

The bipartisan congressional delegation discussed efforts to curb illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, stop illegal drug trafficking and continue a U.S.-Mexico economic partnership.

Sen. Mike Lee quote tweets Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s photo of the U.S. delegation’s visit to Mexico City. Lee lead a discussion on trade at the meeting. (@SenMikeLee via Twitter)

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’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.

Sen. Mike Lee speaks with Communications Director Lee Lonsberry about the senator’s trip to Mexico City on March 20. Lee spoke to the issues discussed including trade, immigration and the rise in fentanyl. (@SenMikeLee via Twitter)

The Stopping Border Surges Act, or SB685, seeks to “close loopholes,” according to Lee, 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.

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 released summary of the bill said.

The Stopping Border Surges Act would 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.

Proponents of the bill believe that the Stopping Border Surges Act would increase transparency in Department of Homeland Security by ensuring a higher level of quality when interviewing those seeking asylum.

“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.

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