Today, the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan, and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, wrote a joint letter to Congress urging the immediate passage of emergency funding to their agencies, citing the ongoing crisis at the southern border.
Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan told a Senate panel on Thursday that all illegal border crossers are currently being released from custody and most receive work permits within a month or two. McAleenan testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee regarding the ongoing border surge that has seen a record number of family units apprehended in just the first half of the current fiscal year.
Former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, who led the Department of Homeland Security during the second half of the Obama Administration, said in a Fox News interview Sunday that the U.S. government must end catch-and-release on the border. Additionally, he said that the Trump Admin. should expand family detention centers like the previous administration did.
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen urged Congress to close the loopholes in the immigration system during the White House Press Briefing on Monday. Additionally, she presented current statistics pertaining to illegal immigration on the southern border and stated that DHS will continue to prosecute those who attempt to illegally enter the U.S.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in a statement yesterday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will send 35 assisting attorneys and 18 immigration judges to the Southern border to prosecute the recent influx of foreign nationals attempting to enter the U.S. Sessions said that the department will be sending judges that don't have existing caseloads to work on asylum claims full-time.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released a report Wednesday revealing that border patrol agents apprehended 50,308 persons last month — 37 percent more apprehensions than in February and about 200 percent more than the 16,588 apprehended the same month one year ago.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) just released a new report showing that border apprehensions increased by 15% from June but remains 47% lower than July 2016. July saw the highest number of border apprehensions since Pres. Trump took office though total apprehensions are still 22% lower than the same time period in FY16.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Tex., unveiled a plan to overhaul homeland security that includes: “extreme vetting” of foreign travelers; revamping the visa application process; immediate suspension of all immigration, including refugees, from high-risk areas; building a wall and increasing border assets; ending catch-and-release policies; reforming asylum standards; deporting criminal aliens; ending sanctuary cities; implementing a full entry-exit system; re-examining guest-worker programs; and mandating E-Verify.
The Center for Immigration Studies’ Jessica Vaughn today revealed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) diverted $167 million from numerous programs to pay for the housing and care of those designated as unaccompanied alien children. With the latest border surge, HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is caring for a record number of illegal-alien minors. The shifted funds will cover just one month’s expenses, and the agency may need an additional $1-2 billion in fiscal year 2017.
Due to the increasing immigration court backlog U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced in a press release that they will extend “the validity period for initial or renewal Employment Authorization Documents for asylum applicants from one year to two years”.
According to internal Homeland Security documents obtained by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Mexico has been granting Haitians 20-day transit documents in order to reach the U.S. border. This policy and lax immigration enforcement in the U.S. has led to a 1,800% increase in Haitians illegally crossing the border in 2016.
The Associated Press reports the Mexican immigration agency issued transit visas to 424 aliens from African countries that will enable them to reach the U.S. border. Officials from the National Immigration Institute said those from the Congo, Somalia and Ghana had traveled from Brazil or Ecuador to the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. Most voluntarily turned themselves in over just two days last week.
According to Border Patrol statistics, released last week, the number of illegal aliens caught at the southern border has already exceeded the number caught in FY15, with two months left in the fiscal year. 332,465 illegal aliens have been apprehended at the southern border so far this year compared to the 331,333 apprehended last year.
In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Alabama Sens. Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby said that illegal-alien minors are again surging across the border but “only a small fraction have been removed from the United States." At least 60 percent of such minors in 2014 and 2015 should have been deported because they did not qualify for placement in the U.S. as “unaccompanied alien children’ under the law.
According to new Border Patrol statistics, apprehensions at the southern border rose for the third consecutive month led by increases in illegal-alien family units. The Border Patrol apprehended 32,117 family units so far in fiscal year 2016, more than double the amount for this period last year and a 62% increase over the record number in fiscal year 2014 for that period. The numbers suggest a new border surge from Central American countries of record proportions.
Sheriff Charles Jenkins of Frederick County, Md. told a House panel that “(o)pen borders, reckless sanctuary policies, and failure to enforce our immigration laws have greatly impacted public safety and national security throughout every jurisdiction of this country. He linked the surge in unaccompanied alien minors crossing the border to a rise in alien gang crime, including attempted murder, armed robbery and the rape and sexual assault of children.
According to a recent DHS report the number of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) coming across the border has doubled and the number of family units has tripled in fiscal year 2016 compared to the same time frame in fiscal year 2015.
This week Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, introduced The Protection of Children Act (S.2561) that would remove loopholes to ensure that unaccompanied minors who cross the border illegally are promptly returned to their families in their home countries.
The Obama administration has reinstated the catch and release policy forcing Border Patrol to release any illegal aliens “claiming” to have been in the country since January 2014, without ordering them to appear at a deportation hearing. This essentially ignores our immigration laws and grants illegal aliens the right to remain in the country.
The House Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee will hold two hearings in early February to examine bills from the 113th Congress that strengthen interior immigration enforcement, eliminate fraud and abuse from asylum laws, end Administration policies that encourage illegal immigration, and require E-Verify use. The subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.
The Tucson Sentinel reports that more “family units” are crossing the border illegally and seeking help at temporary shelters in the Rio Grande Valley. “It doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon,” said Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. “The numbers increased a lot this past month, almost to 100 every day."
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bureau released its enforcement and removal operations report for fiscal year 2014, which shows that illegal border crossings rose dramatically this year while deportations dropped. Many expect illegal immigration, especially from non-contiguous countries, to surge again in 2015, and the president’s executive amnesty is designed to drive deportation numbers even lower.
Leon Rodriguez, the new director of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), said his agency is preparing for another surge of unaccompanied alien children and family units this year. As part of that effort, the agency is already hiring more officers to process asylum claims. Some 130,000 illegal aliens have been processed so far as part of this year’s border surge.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., yesterday said “I think we should use any and all means necessary to prevent the president from illegally granting amnesty.” That could include amending a stop-gap spending bill (continuing resolution) with a House-passed measure that would prevent funds from being spent to implement President Obama’s administrative amnesty. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who opposes the measure, accused Sen. Cruz of inviting a government shutdown.
At a Tuesday press conference with Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and a number of House Republicans, Sen. Cruz said:
Members of Congress returning to Washington, D.C. after their summer recess were greeted today with a $1.2 billion request from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson for addressing the border surge. Johnson said that while the “worst [of the surge] is over for now, there are still bills to be paid and our border security efforts must be sustained to prevent another spike like we saw this year.”
President Obama today said that he received proposals from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder for immigration actions that can be taken without Congress’ approval. He had previously vowed to take action before the end of summer, but today only said "My expectation is that fairly soon, I'll be considering what the next steps are."
President Obama recently reported that the number of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) illegally crossing the border was down in August but failed to discuss illegal family crossings, which remained steady according to the Daily Caller. The inflow of UACs is expected to rise again when the weather cools.
In granting U.S. asylum to a Guatemalan woman who said she was a victim of domestic violence, the Department of Justice’s Board of Immigration Appeals may have created an incentive for more women from Guatemala and other nations to seek similar claims. The ruling applies to Guatemalan women who crossed the border in the recent surge if they can demonstrate they were victims of domestic violence.
The House tonight adopted H.R. 5230, the $694 million emergency supplemental spending bill for the border surge crisis, by a vote of 223-189. As part of the package, the House passed Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s (R-Tenn.) bill ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program by a vote of 216-192-1.
The House plans to resume debate at 10 a.m. today on the $659 million emergency supplemental spending bill (H.R. 5230) for the alien surge. Yesterday, the Senate's emergency supplemental was defeated after Democrats failed to garner enough votes on a procedural motion made by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.
Having insufficient votes for passage earlier today, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, pulled from floor consideration H.R. 5230, the supplemental spending for the border surge crisis. Boehner thereafter held an emergency meeting of the House Republican Conference to round up more votes. The House continued to debate the legislation but adjourned for the day. Debate on the bill will resume just after 10 a.m. on Friday.
The Senate voted down an attempt to filibuster S. 2648, the supplemental spending bill President Obama requested to address the surge alien crisis. Senators invoked cloture (initiated debate) on a 63-33 vote. Floor debate is expected to begin Thursday with the first votes on Friday.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other leaders briefed the House Republican caucus on a $659 million in supplemental spending bill that would reportedly amend the 2008 human trafficking law Obama deems responsible for preventing his deportation of surge aliens, but not cut off operating funds for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which most Republicans say largely sparked the surge. Boehner plans a House floor vote on the measure on Thursday before adjournment for the August recess.
To me, David Frum at the venerable Atlantic magazine has now written the most revealing article yet about the why of the Border Surge and what it means.
It is entitled "Decades of lax policies have produced the latest wave of Central American migrants" with the sub-title of "The Made-in-America Immigration Crisis" -- http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/07/an-immigration-...
Pro-enforcement activists yesterday protested a plan to house surge alien children at a 145-bed facility in Vassar, Michigan. This is the third protest in the past week in Vassar, a city of about 2,700 people about 70 miles northwest of Detroit. Also more that 200 people attended an information meeting on July 9.
Michiganders for Immigration Control and Enforcement organized the protest which turned out about 50 people. Protesters marched from Vassar City Hall to Wolverine Human Services' Pioneer Work and Learn Center, where the surge aliens would be located.