‘What was a crisis, is now a full-fledged emergency…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border are at an all-time high and the immigration system is at “the breaking point,” according to Customs and Border Protection.
Over the past five months, border agents have made a record number of arrests, including 136,150 families.
This number is more than all of the family arrests made in 2017, according to the Wall Street Journal. In February alone, more than 66,400 people were arrested, making it the busiest month for border patrol since President Trump took office.
“This situation is not sustainable,” Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said on Tuesday. “The system is well beyond capacity and remains at the breaking point.”
The number of families seeking asylum in the U.S. has overwhelmed government facilities on the border, McAleenan said. Many of them simply don’t have the resources necessary to sustain medical attention and basic care. Some families spend days in cinder-block cells without beds or showers while immigration officials process their requests.
And though the number of families voluntarily turning themselves over continues to rise, general arrests along the border have skyrocketed as well. Border Patrol made 267,900 arrests since October — compared to 136,209 over the same period in fiscal year 2018.
U.S. asylum laws make it easy for families to cross the border and gain access to the country. The backlog in federal immigration cases in the courts ensures immigrants’ quick release — and many won’t hear back from the courts for years.
McAleenan said these “vulnerabilities in the legal framework are creating the incentives for families and children to come to the border.”
The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that illegal immigration is at a 12-year high, turning Trump’s crisis at the border into a “full-fledged 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,” DHS Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen said in a statement. “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.”
Trump recently declared a national state of emergency at the border to allocate funds from the Defense Department and DHS to increased border security, including the construction of a southern border wall.
“This cannot be a partisan issue,” Nielsen said. “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.”
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., reiterated that the crisis at the border is not a “manufactured crisis” created by Republicans.
“It’s not a hoax. It’s not a cable television ploy,” Graham said in his opening statement. “It is real. It is serious. It is a threat. And it poses a direct challenge to the safety and security of the citizens of the United States. To believe otherwise is to deny reality and ignore the facts.”