In an op-ed for Fox News this week, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that President Trump’s proclamation of a crisis at the border was not just bluster. Far from it. Nielsen warned that while Democrats are investigating Russia and blocking every immigration action they can get their hands on, the crisis at the border is becoming more than a national emergency – it is a “near system-wide meltdown.”
“Late last year, we were apprehending 50,000 – 60,000 migrants a month at the southern border. Last month, we apprehended more than 75,000, the highest in over a decade. And now we are nearing 100,000 migrants per month,” Nielsen wrote.
“Compared to past flows, these migrants are arriving in enormous groups unlike any we’ve seen before. In most years, only one or two ‘large groups’ of more than 100 migrants would arrive at our borders. Already in this fiscal year, we’ve seen more than 100 such large groups. This is entirely unprecedented,” she continued. “The system is breaking. It was not designed to handle the volume of vulnerable populations – especially families and children – who are arriving. The result is a humanitarian and security catastrophe.”
Nielsen said that the surge was proving to be too much for the manpower at the border, to say nothing of our basic security infrastructure. She said that bad laws now resulted in a scenario where hundreds of thousands of migrants with no legal claim to stay in the U.S. would nonetheless disappear into the shadows and melt into the illegal population.
“That is why – in addition to the border wall and strong immigration enforcement – the Department of Homeland Security is taking swift action to address the crisis at the source,” she wrote.
Nielsen said that she was spearheading a compact with El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras – the Central America countries that make up the Northern Triangle (and are responsible for the majority of illegal migration).
“As a result of President Trump’s leadership and DHS engagement, last week the Northern Triangle countries signed a first-of-its-kind agreement with the United States. They committed to take immediate steps to combat human smuggling and the formation of large groups and caravans bound for America,” Nielsen wrote. “They have also agreed to ramp up enforcement action against criminal networks that are fueling the crisis, to deepen information sharing so that we can identify dangerous individuals headed our way, and to enhance regional border security to prevent illegal migration in the first place.”
President Trump, of course, is already out of patience with these nations. He announced this week that the U.S. was cutting humanitarian aid to the Northern Triangle in the absence of help from those governments. Should they live up to the agreement that Nielsen spoke of, we’ll see an end to the caravans and perhaps aid will be restored.
If not, the crisis will continue and these nations will wish they had cooperated with the Trump administration when they had the chance.