This influx of migrants has overwhelmed the facilities used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), forcing Border Patrol agents to release migrants into the country on their own recognizance to return for an asylum court date that could be years away due to the volume of cases.
President Trump has been sounding the alarm about this problem since taking office. His battle for a border wall prompted the longest ever partial government shutdown, which only ended upon his decision to declare a national emergency to fund the border wall.
The president also recently threatened hefty tariffs on Mexican goods as a way to force Mexican officials to the table on immigration. The two parties came to an agreement on Friday evening whereby Trump will drop the tariffs and Mexico will send around 6,000 troops to its southern border to prevent Central Americans from traveling through the country.
Despite all of the efforts Trump has made — with little help from Congress — to stop the flow of migrants into the United States, Cicilline still believes that Trump is only using the crisis as a “political prop,” rather than a crisis he wants to solve.
During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Cicilline told guest anchor Bret Baier that he doesn’t believe Trump understands the crisis.
Watch Cicilline’s interview:
“We ought to honor that [asylum] system. They reflect our values as a country, but we ought to make sure it’s being done expeditiously and that people are not gaming the system, of course, but we need comprehensive immigration reform. We need to devote more resources to it, but we need a president who understands the complexity of the problem and stops using this issue as a political prop to advance a political agenda.”
Cicilline noted that Democrats are considering increasing funding to address the shortage of judges and immigration attorneys at the border and foreign aid to Central America, but it isn’t clear what other ideas his party— or Congress in general — has brought to the table in an actionable way.