Homeland Security Chief Blames Congress, Courts for ‘Humanitarian Crisis’ at Southern Border

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Saturday called on federal courts to enforce existing immigration laws to stem the tide of undocumented migrant families from entering the United States and Congress to fix a broken immigration system that has created “a humanitarian crisis” at the southern border.

“The system is clearly overwhelmed and we must work together to address this humanitarian crisis and protect vulnerable populations,” Nielsen said in a statement released Saturday after her meetings Friday with local and federal officials in El Paso, Texas, one of the nation’s busiest border crossing points. “We know that if Congress were to act, or the courts were to enforce the law as written, we could address this crisis tomorrow. Instead we continue to do more with less.

“As I have said before, I ask Congress to please put politics aside and recognize this for the growing security and humanitarian crisis it is,” said Nielsen, who is visiting border facilities in Yuma, Arizona, on Saturday.

Nielsen arrived in El Paso Friday following the deaths this month of two migrant children who were in Customs and Border Protection custody. She met with officials there in response to the increase in the apprehensions of families and unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally, including those with illnesses.

This week, Nielsen ordered a series of actions to care for undocumented immigrants who are apprehended, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection medical exams for all children it holds in custody. United States Coast Guard medical personnel deployed to the border to assist the Border Patrol in health screenings.

In a Saturday tweet, President Donald Trump blamed the deaths on Democrats “and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally.”

“If we had a Wall, they wouldn’t even try!,” he tweeted in a reference to the border wall he’s seeking that has led to the federal government’s partial shutdown, now in its second week.

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SOURCE: Nicole Gaudiano and Alan Gomez
USA TODAY