Rosen Questions Administration’s Role in Preventing Individuals from Legally Claiming Asylum in the U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During Tuesday morning’s Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing, Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) questioned Rodolfo Karisch, Chief Patrol Agent in Rio Grande Valley sector of the U.S. Border Patrol, and Randy Howe, Customs and Border Protection Executive Director for OFO Operations about reports that the President has directed agency personnel to violate the law and close the ports of entry at the southern border to all migrants, preventing individuals from legally seeking asylum in the U.S.

“This weekend, while visiting my home state of Nevada, President Trump called the U.S. asylum process a ‘scam.’ With respect to immigrants, including asylum-seekers, the President said: ‘We can’t take you anymore. Our country is full, so turn around.’ As the granddaughter of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, I can’t help but think about the time in the middle of the twentieth century when the U.S. used security concerns as an excuse to turn away thousands of refugees fleeing Europe, or about the MS St. Louis ocean liner that in 1939 was made to turn around upon reaching American shores. I can’t help but think of the many families today from El Salvador, Honduras, and elsewhere waiting in squalor outside of our ports of entry because they are fleeing unimaginable violence and can find safety and freedom only here to the United States.” said Senator Rosen.

“Yesterday, CNN reported that the President told agency personnel to close the ports of entry at the southern border. The President told border agents in Calexico, California not to allow any migrants into the country.” Senator Rosen continued.

“So Mr. Karisch, Mr. Howe, if the President were to instruct you and your agents to deny entry to people seeking asylum at the border, in your opinion do you think that violates United States law?” asked Senator Rosen.

BACKGROUND: Full video of this exchange is available here.