Asylum Accountability Measure Exchanges 10-year Penalty, with Permanent Ban

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) this week cosponsored legislation that would permanently bar illegal immigrants who fail to appear in immigration court from benefitting from the Immigration and Nationality Act, the law that governs immigration and citizenship in the United States.

The Asylum Accountability Act (S.4636) would significantly sharpen the penalty for illegal immigrants who enter the country illegally with a belief they can apply for asylum, abscond from their court hearings, and live consequence free in the United States.  U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) authored the measure.

“The virtual free-for-all at the border is the result of Biden administration policies that give the world the impression that our borders are wide open.  Many illegal border crossers have learned to game the asylum process, which makes a mockery of the legal immigration system,” Hyde-Smith said.  “Senator Tillis’ legislation would begin to restore order by making sure there are serious consequences for abusing the asylum process.”

“Illegal immigrants are abusing current asylum law, living in the country for years before having to appear in immigration court, and then failing to show up,” said Tillis.  “The Biden administration’s failed policies have caused the unprecedented crisis at the southern border, and it’s only getting worse.  This legislation cracks down on any illegal immigrant who tries to skirt the law and implements a commonsense bar on obtaining benefits for anyone who fails to show up for their court hearing.  This policy is long overdue and it is time we regain control of our border.”

S.4636 was introduced in response to illegal immigrants who take advantage of the asylum system by making an asylum claim then running out the clock and never showing up for their immigration court hearing.  These cases have increased as a result of the Biden administration’s failure to secure the border and action to limit interior enforcement of the nation’s laws.

The permanent ban would strengthen the Immigration and Nationality Law, which currently makes an illegal immigrant who fails to appear for their immigration court hearing deportable and banned from entering the United States for 10 years.  

Fueled by the Biden administration’s failed catch and release policies, the current wait time for an asylum case to be completed is 4½ years.  There are over 667,000 asylum seekers in the backlog, meaning potentially tens of thousands of illegal immigrants will continue to break the law and disappear into our communities.

According to a recent Government Accountability Office study, 9 percent of all illegal immigrants enrolled in Alternatives to Detention ultimately absconded. 

U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are also original cosponsors of the Asylum Accountability Act.