Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday called on the Biden administration to implement a policy modeled on the pandemic-era Title 42, which allowed border patrol agents to turn away migrants at the border without hearing asylum claims because of the public health emergency.
“Here’s the key I think. We’re asking the administration to use Title 42-type authority to tell people: We’re full,” Graham said in an interview on CBS News’s “Face the Nation.” “It takes four years to get your asylum claim heard. We have 1.7 million people who are ready to be deported, but they just won’t deport them.”
“We need to send some people out of the country to stop the inflow, but Title 42 authority in the hands of any administration willing to use it would stop this. When you come to our border, we say: ‘I’m sorry, we’re full,’” Graham said.
Graham’s remarks come as talks on Capitol Hill have largely stalled for the time being on an aid package that would address issues at the border, including security and potentially the asylum process, as well as provide aid to Ukraine and Israel.
The GOP senator said Sunday that “expedited removal is on the table” when asked about the status of talks. He also reiterated that parole is a sticking point for him, criticizing the Biden administration’s use of “humanitarian parole” to address a large group of people.
“I don’t want to do anything dramatic. I just want to enforce the law. The asylum laws are being abused, let’s change them,” he said. “Title 42 authority needs to be reapplied here on the concept that America is full. If you have to wait four years for an asylum hearing. Let’s slow down the asylum system. 1.7 million people are ready to be deported. Let’s deport them before we let new people in.”
The Biden administration sent top officials including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to Mexico City last week to meet with the Mexican president and push Mexico to help reduce the number of migrants showing up at the U.S. southern border.
Graham said he’s talked to House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) about what he would be willing to put on the House floor to address the flow of migrants. Republicans in the House previously passed a sweeping immigration reform bill in May widely panned by Democrats in both chambers.
“Asylum reform, limitations on parole, re-invoking Title 42 — I think would be enough to get it through the House,” Graham said. “The policy changes have to be real. We have to start deporting people to slow down the inflow. If you see people leaving the country, people are less likely to show up at the border.”
He also said if former President Trump returns to the White House, people should expect “mass deportation.”
“When Trump gets to be president, if he does, if you’re here illegally, you’re going to be deported. There’s going to be mass deportation under Donald Trump of people here in violation of the law who have received a final order of deportation. They’re going to be going,” Graham said.
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