On March 25, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced four pieces of immigration legislation. Taken together, these bills would accelerate the deportation of criminal aliens, gang members, and terrorists and give our immigration judges the tools to reclaim control of their courtrooms.
The spate of introduced bills comes on the heels of Sen. Kennedy joining his Senate colleagues on a trip to Texas to witness the crisis unfolding at our southern border. The Louisiana Republican explained his motivation to push for these bills after observing how the Biden administration’s immigration policies have attracted illegal alien gang members and other offenders to infiltrate our nation.
The first bill, the Empowering the Immigration Courts Act, would permit immigration judges to levy a fine of $1,000 in an instance of contempt of court. According to the Heritage Foundation, an example of contempt of court would be defying a judge’s orders or showing disrespect toward a judicial body. Most criminal and civil courts allow judges to wield contempt power over unruly persons; immigration judges should hold the same authority. Sen. Kennedy claims this bill would help immigration judges regain control of their courtrooms, where they can extend the choice of cooperation or delivering a financial penalty.
The second bill, the Terrorist Deportation Act, amends the Immigration Nationality Act to make any alien, excluding permanent residents, identified in the terrorist screening database deportable. The Biden administration’s decision to halt the construction of barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border has made it easier for human smugglers and possibly even terrorists to sneak into the country and disappear into the interior. Recently, four individuals whose names matched those on a terrorist watchlist were apprehended at the Southwest border. Such developments should concern every American.
The third bill, the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, would make any alien, lawfully present or not, who is a member of a criminal gang or participated in gang-related illegal activities subject to deportation. Additionally, any alien found to be involved in a gang would be subject to mandatory detention and ineligible for asylum, Temporary Protected Status, special immigrant juvenile visas, or parole.
The fourth and final bill, the Criminal Alien Removal Clarification Act, would subject any alien who has entered the United States and has been convicted of two misdemeanors or one felony at either the state or federal level to deportation. Current law only allows foreign nationals convicted of certain felonies and specific misdemeanors to be deported.
Measures like these have the potential to protect Americans from President Joe Biden’s dangerous immigration policies. However, it is still incumbent on his administration to also properly address the crisis at the southern border. Resuming the construction of barriers on the Southwest border will also help prevent the entry of criminal offenders, to begin with. Moreover, reinstating the asylum agreements with Mexico and the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras would likely wind down the current surge.
Sen. Kennedy has stepped up to address our nation’s immigration crisis; more federal lawmakers should be following his example of putting an end to this chaos. The American people deserve a president and congress whose top priority is keeping them safe from external threats, especially from our border. The crisis we are facing worsens each day while the American people wait for action.