On Wednesday, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen, testified that the situation on the southern border is at a “breaking point” as the U.S. Border Patrol is struggling to handle illegal immigration at the highest rates since 2007.
“I can no longer assure you of who is coming into this country. That is a direct national security threat,” Nielsen said to Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko when she asked if President Trump was justified in declaring a national emergency.
“The truth is that the politics and policies of open borders have failed the American people. Our broken system endures, and the ongoing humanitarian and security crisis at our Southwest Border leaves many minors and families at extreme risk of being exploited by traffickers, human smugglers, gangs, and other nefarious actors seeking to profit at their expense,” said Nielsen. “Activist courts, congressional inaction, and criminals intent on breaking our laws stand in the way of confronting illegal and uncontrolled migration threatening our safety and security. What was a crisis, is now a full-fledged emergency.”
“This cannot be a partisan issue,” Nielsen continued. “Every DHS Secretary since the Department’s inception has sounded the alarm about our unsecured border and its consequences. The American people and our law enforcement personnel rightfully demand effective border security: building the wall, strengthening our laws, and giving the men and women serving on the front lines the tools and resources they need to keep Americans safe. To that end, this Department pledges our unwavering resolve to confronting present and ever-evolving future threats to our national security at our Southwest Border.”
The Department of Homeland Security released data showing:
- More than 76,000 aliens were apprehended or deemed inadmissible at a port of entry in February.
- More than 2,000 aliens are being apprehended every day at the Southern border.
- Border Patrol has apprehended over 268,000 individuals since the beginning of the fiscal year, marking a 97% increase from the previous year.
- Currently there is an unprecedented surge of illegal alien families arriving the border, with more than 40,000 apprehended and deemed inadmissible in February.
- In this fiscal year (FY) to date, there has been a more than 300%increase in the number of family units apprehended compared to the same time period last fiscal year.
- Apprehensions of family unit aliens and Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) have surged by 338% and 54% respectively this year.
- There has been a wave of large migrant groups flooding to the border.
- 70 large groups of 100 or more individuals have attempted to cross the border so far this fiscal year, compared with only 13 the previous year.
- Many of the migrants arriving at the border are requiring medical assistance, further straining resources and personnel on the ground.
- Customs and Border Protection is executing a new directive to expand existing medical service contracts and deploy additional medical personnel to the border.
.@Repdlesko: "Do you believe that the president of the United States was justified in declaring a national emergency?"@SecNielsen: "It is an emergency…I can no longer assure you of who is coming into this country. That is a direct national security threat." pic.twitter.com/5ev1tIQtqe
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 6, 2019