Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen issued a dire assessment Wednesday of the migration crisis on the southern border, telling a House committee that illegal immigration is “spiraling out of control” and predicting that crisis will “get even worse” in the coming months.
And in a startling revelation, she said Customs and Border Protection is on track to apprehend almost 1 million illegal immigrants at the border this year.
“In February, we saw a 30 percent jump over the previous month, with agents apprehending or encountering nearly 75,000 aliens,” Nielsen told the House Committee on Homeland Security. “This is an 80 percent increase over the same time last year. And I can report today that CBP is forecasting the problem will get even worse this spring as the weather warms up.”
“We face a crisis — a real, serious, and sustained crisis at our borders. We have tens of thousands of illegal aliens arriving at our doorstep every month. We have drugs, criminals, and violence spilling into our country every week,” she said.
“This is not a ‘manufactured’ crisis. This is truly an emergency,” she said.
- DHS secretary faces first U.S. House grilling with Democrats in charge
- Claims her agency has uncovered ‘recycling rings’ that let trafficked adults reuse the same children over and over again to pose as family units
- Nielsen also says rape is so common among migrant caravans that every girl over age 10 who enters the U.S. without papers is given a pregnancy test
- Democratic chairman calls Trump’s declared emergency ‘non-existent’
- White House press secretary blasts him on Twitter during hearing
Numbers traveling in family groups since October exceeds record for a full, 12-month period
Illegal immigration continues to break records on the southwestern border — and they’re not good ones.
The number of families snared trying to sneak into the U.S. soared by 50 percent in one month alone, setting an all-time record with more than 36,000 family members apprehended, Homeland Security officials announced Tuesday.
The government has also encountered some 70 groups of at least 100 migrants during the first five months of the fiscal year, shattering records and placing new challenges on Border Patrol agents.
The mini-caravans are being funneled to some of the remotest parts of the border, where there is little in the way of medical help and it takes hours to process and transport the groups. That takes agents off the line, and drug smugglers use the distraction to send across their shipments, top border officials said.
The U.S. Border Patrol apprehended more than 66,000 migrants at the Southern border in February, the highest total for a single month in almost a decade.
The majority of those arrested were migrant families or children traveling alone or without a parent, according to figures released Tuesday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Many of the migrants say they’re fleeing criminal gangs and poverty in Central America to seek asylum in the United States.
“This is clearly both a border security and humanitarian crisis,” said CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan at a press briefing.
Texas health officials report that nearly 200 people contracted mumps in migrant detention facilities located across the state so far this fiscal year.
Officials with the Texas Department of State Health Services stated that 186 people in migrant detention centers located in Texas had confirmed cases of mumps. The cases impacted migrant adults and minors as well as detention center workers, the Texas Tribune reported.
There have been “no reported transmission (of mumps) to the community,” State Health Services Spokeswoman Lara Anton told the news outlet. She said the state health agency is not aware of the vaccination status of migrant adults and children who enter the United States. However, “all unaccompanied minors are vaccinated when they are detained.”