In a House hearing on immigration Tuesday, Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) accused most asylum seekers of immigration fraud and suggested that unaccompanied children who reach the United States are likely to become MS-13 gang members. She warned that if the asylum process isn’t fixed, the country will “be confronted by another generation of DACA-like people.”
McSally opened the two-hour hearing, titled “Stopping the Daily Border Caravan: Time to Build a Policy Wall,” with an opening statement in which she referred to the recent caravan of nearly 1,500 migrants that traveled through Mexico to the US border as having been organized by an “extremist” group operating “under the guise of humanitarian action.” McSally, the chair of the border and maritime security subcommittee, also referred to the increased numbers of people fleeing their home countries to seek asylum in the United States as “individuals [who] have learned how to exploit the system.”
“Our asylum process is broken, rife with fraudulent claims,” she said. “Aliens can simply come to a port of entry or look for a border patrol agent and simply say they have a ‘credible fear.’ Saying these simple two words permits them to be released into the country about 90 percent of the time, regardless of the merits of their claim.” Many don’t show for their hearing date, she claimed, because “most likely because their claim is unfounded in the first place.”
McSally warned that if the asylum process isn’t fixed, we will “be confronted by another generation of DACA-like people.”
McSally is a newly converted immigration hardliner. Less than two weeks ago, she was a cosponsor of the Recognizing America’s Children Act, which offers a pathway to citizenship for undocumented Dreamers and DACA-like people. Yet then she pulled her name from the bill, and signed on as a cosponsor of Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s Securing America’s Future Act, which would reduce legal immigration, crack down on migrant families and children, hold asylum seekers in detention, and scale back avenues for seeking asylum in the United States.
Her shift is likely an election-year maneuver: McSally is running for retiring Sen. Jeff Flake’s Senate seat in a state where anti-immigration conservatives hold sway. She is facing off in the Republican primary against Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County’s racial profiling ex-sheriff, and former state Sen. Kelli Ward, who is known as “Chemtrails Kelli” for holding a public hearing on whether the government has been poisoning its citizens by