As President Biden’s immigration crisis continues to worsen — with a record number of migrants encountered at the border over the last year — Rep. Randy Feenstra (IA-04) joined U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s (R-Iowa) BE GONE Act. Ernst’s measure, which seeks to deport immigrants who have been convicted of violent sex crimes or sexual assault, is gaining major support from lawmakers across Capitol Hill as well as immigration groups and experts.
Today, Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21) is introducing Ernst’s bill in the House with the backing of more than 40 Members of Congress, including Feenstra’s Iowa colleagues Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Reps. Ashley Hinson (IA-01) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02).
“Under no circumstances should migrants convicted of sexual assault or aggravated sexual violence be allowed to enter or stay in the United States. We recently saw the horrific outcome of this loophole when a man — who was previously convicted of sexual abuse and was supposed to be deported — assaulted a woman in Philadelphia. Similar to Sarah’s Law, we must close these loopholes to prevent devastating and avoidable tragedies. I applaud Senator Ernst and Congresswoman Stefanik for introducing the BE GONE Act, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on this commonsense legislation to fix our broken immigration system,” said Rep. Feenstra.
“Our nation is facing a border and immigration crisis of historic proportions, whether President Biden and Democrats would like to admit it or not. It’s far past time the Biden Administration steps up to address the reality of the crisis at our border, and one easy fix is to ensure sexual predators and criminals are identified, stopped, and deported,” said Senator Joni Ernst, a survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence. “My BE GONE Act is gaining support and momentum because it is exactly the commonsense solution we need right now to modernize the immigration system and combat sexual violence and those seeking to exploit our laws.”
“I’m glad to see support for the BE GONE Act throughout the halls of Congress,” Senator Chuck Grassley said. “Unfortunately, in recent months the Biden administration has let many folks into our country who have not been properly vetted. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this commonsense legislation to help keep predators off our streets.”
“We are witnessing a border crisis of historic proportions,” Rep. Stefanik said. “The Biden Administration’s open-border policies are allowing the highest number of illegal border crossings through our Southern Border in over 30 years. We must work to ensure sex criminals are stopped and deported immediately for the safety of our citizens. Border security is national security, and I am proud to join Senator Ernst in working to keep our communities safe.”
“The Biden Administration’s lax border policies have incentivized illegal immigrants, including dangerous criminals, to come into our country. The BE GONE Act would help ensure that law enforcement is empowered to find and deport convicted sex criminals—we should all be able to agree that sex offenders should not be welcomed into the United States. While the Administration keeps our Southern Border open and incentivizes illegal immigration, I will continue pursuing common sense solutions to keep families safe,” said Rep. Hinson.
“Our CBP agents and officers are working hard to keep our border secure in the face of a seemingly never-ending crisis that the Administration has failed to address. We should immediately provide law enforcement the authority to identify and deport convicted sex criminals,” said Rep. Miller-Meeks. “We are introducing the BE GONE Act to ensure that individuals convicted of violent sexual crimes or sexual assault may not immigrate to the U.S at any time. I am proud to help introduce the House companion to Senator Ernst’s commonsense legislation and continue to work on reasonable fixes to our broken immigration system.”
Ernst’s BE GONE Act has also gained the backing of several immigration and policy advocacy groups, including the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Americans For Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, and Heritage Action. In addition, Ernst’s measure is being praised by former commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and chief of Border Patrol under Democratic President Barack Obama, Mark Morgan, and former director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Tom Homan.
RJ Hauman with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) said, “We applaud Senator Ernst and Congresswoman Stefanik for introducing commonsense, well-timed legislation to ensure that sexual predators are deportable and inadmissible. Not only should sexual predators ‘be gone,’ so should Majority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi’s indefensible opposition to every immigration bill that seeks to enhance enforcement or secure the border. This bill should be voted on immediately. Enough is enough.”
Mark Morgan, the former commissioner of CBP, said, “Having triggered and mismanaged a border crisis on top of a refusal to enforce immigration laws in American communities, it is clear that the Biden Administration does not prioritize public safety. Senator Ernst and Congresswoman Stefanik do, however. Their bill would keep sexual predators out of the country and off our streets. I’m proud to support it.”
Tom Homan, the former director of ICE, said, “Every day the Biden Administration makes it harder for ICE to detain and remove those here illegally – including criminals – leading to dangerous events like the train assault in Philadelphia. To address this, Senator Ernst and Congresswoman Stefanik are trying to change current law to ensure that sexual predators are identified, stopped, and deported. I support the BE GONE Act and encourage every lawmaker to cosponsor right away.”
The BE GONE Act — or the Better Enforcement of Grievous Offenses by un-Naturalized Emigrants Act — would make “sexual assault and aggravated sexual violence” a disqualifying act for those seeking to immigrate to the U.S., such as those given the temporary status of “humanitarian parole.”
The bill also gives law enforcement the ability to deport those who have been convicted of sexual violent crimes or sexual assault and who are trying to immigrate. Specifically, it would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 to include sexual assault and other forms of aggravated sexual violence as a disqualifying crime for foreign applicants for residence in the United States, and deportable for non-citizen resident immigrants.