One million illegal immigrants are likely to be apprehended by border patrol agents by the end of the year in what is a growing migration crisis in the United States, according to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
“The agency is now on track to apprehend more migrants crossing illegally in the first six months of this fiscal year than the entirety of FY17, and at the current pace we are on track to encounter close to one million illegal aliens at our southern border this year,” Nielsen said Wednesday during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing.
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tells Congress the US is on track to encounter close to 1 million illegal migrants at the border this year.
— Margaret Chadbourn (@MLChadbourn) March 6, 2019
The estimate comes as border officials recently revealed that 75,000 illegal immigrants were encountered last month alone. Nielsen referred to the border situation as a crisis that is “spiraling out of control” and projected to “get even worse” in the months ahead.
“In February, we saw a 30-percent jump over the previous month, with agents apprehending or encountering nearly 75,000 aliens,” Nielsen told the committee. “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.”
Nielsen said that the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants are attempting to enter the country each month while drugs, criminals and violence also cross the border in the absence of adequate border security.
“Our capacity is already severely strained, but these increases will overwhelm the system entirely,” she said. “This is not a ‘manufactured’ crisis. This is truly an emergency.”
Nielsen’s full testimony can be viewed below:
The growing migrant crisis is further taxing U.S. resources as a result of the increased number of migrant families with children.
“Over 60 percent of the current flow are family units and unaccompanied alien children,” Nielsen said, noting that apprehension of migrant families increased by 338 percent. Unaccompanied minor apprehensions increased by 54 percent.
Nielsen called on Congress for legislation that would allow “the same and prompt return” of unaccompanied migrant children to their origin countries.
“The truth is that the politics and policies of open borders have failed the American people,” Nielsen said. “No rational person would design an immigration system like we have today. It’s dangerous for Americans. It’s dangerous for migrants. It undermines our nation’s values. And it fails to uphold our fundamental obligations to the American people.”