Lankford, Colleagues Want to Fix Loophole Allowing Illegal Criminals to Remain in the US

YUMA, AZ —Senators James Lankford (R-OK), John Thune (R-SD), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced the Reverse Entry for Migrant Offenders and Violence Expulsion (REMOVE) Act, which would close a loophole that allows noncitizens convicted of kidnapping or sexual assault to remain in the United States. Lankford traveled to the southern border today to directly connect with law enforcement at US Border Patrol facilities in Arizona.

“Last year, I confronted the Biden Administration’s definition of ‘violent crimes’ in regard to deportation orders. Their new rules limited the number of people that could be deported, including some sex offenders who were found guilty of sex crimes while in our nation illegally,” said Lankford. “Every Oklahoman believes that an illegal immigrant who is a kidnapper or commits sexual assault should be deported. I am mortified that there is even a question in the Biden Administration if all sex offenders should be deported. Our bill gives that question a firm answer; yes, sex offenses are violent crimes and should lead to immediate deportation for those found guilty. Period.”

“Illegal immigrants, especially those who commit heinous crimes such as kidnapping or sexual assault, cannot be allowed to remain in our country,” said Thune. “These are inherently violent crimes, and we must do everything we can to ensure that our kids and grandkids are safe in our communities. I’m proud to lead this common-sense legislation that would close an egregious loophole that permits criminals to stay in our country.”

“Criminals, human traffickers, and terrorists are taking advantage of the crisis at the southern border to carry out crimes,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Those here illegally who commit sexual assault or kidnapping should face deportation. It’s common sense. Our bill ensures we hold criminals accountable and keep Americans safe.”

“Denying entry to migrants convicted of kidnapping and sexual assault is necessary to help keep our communities safe,” said Moran. “This legislation will make certain that criminals with these records are kept out of the United States.”

“Those who come across our border illegally and commit violent crimes like kidnapping and sexual assault should be deported,” said Tillis. “Current law does not clearly establish that human smuggling and kidnapping are grounds for deportation, and it’s time that Congress corrects this problem. I am proud to introduce this commonsense legislation with my colleagues because human smuggling, kidnapping, and assault by dangerous illegal immigrants happen every day, and this legislation is way overdue.”

Over the years, portions of the federal criminal code have been ruled to be unconstitutionally vague by the Supreme Court. Criminal defendants have successfully sought relief from long sentences on the grounds that the statutory definitions of their crimes gave insufficient notice of their actions’ consequences. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in Sessions v. Dimaya that a residual or “catchall” provision of the criminal code (18 USC § 16(b)) incorporated into the Immigration and Nationality Act was unconstitutionally vague. The result in Sessions v. Dimaya was that a noncitizen criminal defendant convicted under 16(b) could not be deported, which the REMOVE Act seeks to correct.