Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified before the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday where she stood firm in defending President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration as the DHS sees a spike of apprehensions at the southern border.
As IJR Red reported, the DHS said the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico had reached a “breaking point,” reaching a 12-year high of apprehensions as a soaring number of immigrants are crossing into the U.S. illegally.
The month of February 2019 more than doubled February 2018 in apprehensions with 76,103 last month.
Nielsen told the committee illegal immigration “is spiraling out of control and threatening public safety and national security.”
She said it could “get even worse” in the months to come and predicted 1 million illegal immigrants to be apprehended at the border this year.
“In February, we saw a 30 percent jump over the previous month, with agents apprehending or encountering nearly 75,000 aliens. This is an 80 percent increase over the same time last year. And I can report today that CBP is forecasting the problem will get even worse this spring as the weather warms up.
We want to strengthen legal immigration and welcome more individuals through a merit-based system that enhances our economic vitality and the vibrancy of our diverse nation. We also will continue to uphold our humanitarian ideals. But illegal immigration is simply spiraling out of control and threatening public safety and national security.”
The DHS secretary reiterated that “the current system isn’t working and that this is an emergency.”
“I give him the operations reality,” Nielsen responded when asked if she gave the president grounds for his declaration. “Here’s what we’re facing, here’s what we’re seeing, here are the facts. By my read of it, it is an emergency.”
Nielsen later said Trump’s national emergency declaration is a result of Congress not meeting the president’s “request to fund the resources that CBP has requested.”
Watch the video below:
Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen: "[President Trump] hoped Congress would act, that it didn't have to come to issuing an emergency declaration if Congress had met his request to fund the resources that CBP has requested." https://t.co/0vWrwARABx pic.twitter.com/yKKvQXx34z
— The Hill (@thehill) March 6, 2019
Trump’s national emergency declaration on the southern border
It seems as if the resolution to block Trump’s national emergency will pass in the Senate — as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) recently announced he would vote in support of the legislation, becoming the fourth Republican to join the Democrats in doing so.
“What is clear in the Senate is that there will be enough votes to pass the resolution of disapproval, which will then be vetoed by the president and then in all likelihood the veto will be upheld in the House,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday, according to Politico.