“We are overwhelmed at the border. It is a crisis, it’s a humanitarian crisis that we gotta take some action on for sure,” Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., told "Fox & Friends."
Jones, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., joined their Republican colleagues last week in calling on President Trump to implement Operation Safe Return, a pilot program in the Department of Homeland Security that would work to quickly identify and deport migrants at the border who do not have valid asylum claims.
“We’ve got limited resources and we got to prioritize that those people who are in this country illegally that are most violent and dangerous, they leave first,” he said, questioning whether the Trump administration is prioritizing criminal aliens, as officials have claimed.
The program would allow DHS to remove family units within 15 days who are determined not to meet the criteria of “credible fear” of returning home necessary for an asylum claim. Those who are initially deemed to meet the “credible fear” criteria can often have their asylum cases go on for years.
The pilot program would have Border Patrol conduct interviews with migrants within three days of them being encountered between ports of entry and have them processed and given a medical exam within four days. The "credible fear" interview should occur within nine days.
Explaining the pilot program, Jones said it would be aimed at alleviating the overcrowding at border detention facilities by fast-tracking the process to determine whether there is a "credible threat" to the person claiming asylum.
"A lot of people coming across this border are obviously trying to game the system," he said, adding he will oppose Democrats who push for "open borders."