DHS Rolls Out All-Hands Approach, Redeploying Thousands of Officers to Border
Hundreds and perhaps up to 2,000 Customs and Border Protection personnel are being ordered to the southern border to deal with the country’s unprecedented illegal immigration crisis, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced Monday.
“The crisis at our border is worsening, and DHS will do everything in its power to end it,” Nielsen said in a statement released on the DHS website.
“We will not stand idly by while Congress fails to act yet again, so all options are on the table. We will immediately redeploy hundreds of CBP personnel to the border to respond to this emergency. We will urgently pursue additional reinforcements from within DHS and the interagency,” she said in her statement.
According to the statement, the Customs and Border Patrol Office of Field Operations “shall accelerate its planned reallocation of up to 750 officers to Border Patrol Sectors that are affected by the emergency. Moreover, CBP is directed to explore raising that target, is authorized to exceed it, and shall notify the Secretary if reassignments are planned to exceed 2,000 personnel.”
The statement also said the Trump administration will now require “those seeking to enter the United States to wait in Mexico until an immigration court as reviewed their claims.”
In her statement, Nielsen said the CBP is ordered to “immediately expand the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a DHS initiative to return aliens to Mexico to wait during the pendency of their U.S. immigration proceedings. The Secretary directed CBP to return hundreds of additional migrants per day above current rates to Mexico, consistent with U.S. law and humanitarian obligations.”
Nielsen made it clear that anyone apprehended anywhere is fair game to be sent back.
“This increase in returns shall include individuals apprehended or encountered at or between (Ports of Entry). Moreover, the agency is directed to plan for an expansion of MPP beyond the locations in which it currently operates in California and Texas,” she wrote.
President Donald Trump, who has declared a national emergency at the border, has said that if illegal immigration continues at its current pace, he could close the border with Mexico.
Mexico must use its very strong immigration laws to stop the many thousands of people trying to get into the USA. Our detention areas are maxed out & we will take no more illegals. Next step is to close the Border! This will also help us with stopping the Drug flow from Mexico!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 30, 2019
Monday’s statement by Nielsen follows one Friday in which she warned of a “cascading crisis at our southern border.” She outlined the emergency facing the nation.
“The system is in freefall. DHS is doing everything possible to respond to a growing humanitarian catastrophe while also securing our borders, but we have reached peak capacity and are now forced to pull from other missions to respond to the emergency,” she said, foreshadowing Monday’s shift in personnel.
Nielson noted the human cost of the overwhelming surge in migrants crossing the border illegally.
“Let me be clear: the volume of ‘vulnerable populations’ arriving is without precedent,” she said.
“My gravest concern is for children. They are arriving sicker than ever before and are exploited along the treacherous trek. Smugglers and traffickers know that our laws make it easier to enter and stay if you show up as a family. So they are using children as a ‘free ticket’ into America, and have in some cases even used kids multiple times — recycling them — to help more aliens get into the United States,” she said.
Nielsen said the humanitarian crisis demands a solution.
“This goes well beyond politics. We must come together to find a way to tackle the crisis and reduce the flows so children are not put at risk.
“Any system that encourages a parent to send their child alone on this terrible journey — where they are exploited, pawned, and recycled — is completely broken,” she said.
In her Friday statement, she warned that the response to the border crisis will affect Americans as well as migrants.
“As personnel are reallocated to join the crisis-response effort, there may be commercial delays, higher vehicle wait times at the border, and longer pedestrian lines. Despite these impacts, we cannot shirk our responsibility to the American people to do everything possible to secure our country while also upholding our humanitarian values,” she said.
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