Former Acting ICE Director Tom Homan said Wednesday on "America's Newsroom" that the Trump administration's newly unveiled immigration plan is “a very good start” toward closing "loopholes" that are causing the current border crisis.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner unveiled a plan Tuesday that would make sweeping changes to the current immigration system, potentially ending the visa lottery program and starting a merit-based admissions procedure. The announcement came on the heels of the White House's announcement of a sweeping new policy tightening restrictions for asylum seekers.
The new rule would require most migrants entering through America’s southern border to first seek asylum in one of the countries they traversed – whether in Mexico, in Central America, or elsewhere on their journey. In most cases, only if that application is denied would they then be able to seek asylum in the United States.
Homan expressed optimism about the proposals, calling on Democrats to put forth their own plan and for Congress to "do their job."
"The White House has thrown out a plan, Lindsey Graham threw out a plan, I haven’t seen anything coming from the other side, so throw it on the table, let’s start that discussion and let's see if we can fix some of these problems,” Homan said.
He said the plan won't pass in Congress as written and will be "tweaked right and left," but he hopes a discussion will begin.
“Congress needs to do their job. The hearing I attended last week, I made it clear: you can’t keep vilifying the men and women of ICE and Border Patrol for Congress’ failure. If Congress will fix the loopholes that caused this crisis, we won’t have this issue, so I’m hoping this plan would start a discussion, so negotiations can begin," Homan argued.
Homan said asylum-seekers, if they are escaping a dangerous situation in their home country, should first claim asylum in a neighboring country.
"As you can see from what's happening on the border, with 90 percent losing their cases, it isn't so much about escaping fear and persecution - as required under asylum law - it's about getting to the United States. Hopefully, this will stop that."