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Rep. Roy urges House GOP leaders to make border security ‘main priority,’ push for asylum overhaul

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EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, is urging House Republican leaders to make border security a “main priority” as it looks to roll out its security agenda – with the Texas lawmaker calling for lawmakers to move “firmly” to secure the border if and when they take control of the chamber.

Roy wrote last week to Rep. John Katko, R-NY, the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee and the chairman of the GOP American Security Task Force (ASTF). In the letter he submits recommendations for the border security pillar of the House GOP’s security agenda, which is expected to be rolled out as early as next month.

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House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy announced the ASTF last year, with Katko leading it, to produce actionable policies on matters from the border to cybersecurity for a potential GOP majority in the House.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Acesparks Digital, Roy urges leadership to approach the issues of border security and immigration reform “sequentially” – in that the border must first be secured by ending “catch-and-release” preventing overstays and regaining operational control.

“We cannot let asylum be the exception that swallows the rule of border security,” he writes. “Critically, Republicans must not advance any legislation related to the future flow of immigration or adjustment of status for any aliens unlawfully present in the United States until our borders are fully secure. This is ramount.”

The policies called for by Roy, include the completion of the wall at the southern border, and the designation of cartels as terrorist organizations. In addition, he recommends pushing for a number of overhauls to the asylum process, which a number of conservatives and immigration hawks have pointed to as just as crucial, if not more so, than funding and other security measures.

Roy says that the Dertment of Homeland Security must “turn away all asylum seekers that cannot be fully detained” or placed in a program like the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) – which kept migrants in Mexico for their hearings. Additionally, he calls for the defunding of non-governmental organizations “who have encouraged the violation of our border security & immigration laws.”

He also echoes calls for asylum reforms that include long-called for changes to the Flores settlement and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) – which critics have blamed for the spike in unaccomnied children coming to the border.

Roy also wants the “abuses” of prosecutorial discretion and role authority by the Biden administration ended, as well as the removal of all illegal immigrants in the interior – a contrast to current Biden administration policy which narrows priorities to those deemed to be threats to public safety, border security or national security.

“Securing our borders should be the main priority of the House GOP along with ending deficit spending,” Roy said.

The Roy letter is the latest sign that conservatives are looking ahead to an expected Republican wave in November, at which point they are keen for the House leadership to use that power to move to solve the ongoing crisis at the border – which has seen historic migrant encounters at the border and is expected to worsen in the coming months.

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In a statement to Acesparks Digital, ASTF spokesperson Lesley Byers said that since President Biden took office, “Ranking Member Katko and House Republicans have sounded the alarm on the crisis at the Southern Border.”

“Under this administration’s policies, the crisis has hit record-breaking levels of migrant encounters, devastating border communities, facilitating the free-flow of deadly drugs into the US, and demoralizing our frontline border law enforcement,” she said. “The imct cannot be overstated.”

“The American Security Task Force was created by Leader McCarthy so that on day one of a GOP majority, we are ready with actionable legislation for a floor vote,” Byers said. “Based on the robust feedback and proposals of Members of the Task Force and throughout the GOP Conference, House Republicans are strongly positioned to move critical border security legislation should the voters deliver us the majority next year.”

Byers added that Katko “absolutely agrees that border security will be a top priority in a GOP-controlled House, and it is important we advance policies that have wide support across conference to improve border security for the American People.”

Last month, a coalition of hawkish immigration groups and former Trump-era officials wrote to congressional Republican leaders in both chambers to recommend a slew of dramatic asylum and border security reforms – urging them to unite the caucus behind a “flagship” bill.

“Congress should be emboldened with the mandate to immediately legislate unflinchingly, ensuring that neither this nor any future administration is again able to weaponize loopholes in the immigration system — and defiantly refuse to follow plain law — to purposefully drive mass illegal immigration to the United States.” , “they said.

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