In harrowing testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen warned lawmakers that not only were we experiencing an emergency crisis at the border, but that Customs and Border Patrol had every reason to believe that things would get worse before they got better.
“In February, we saw a 30 percent jump over the previous month, with agents apprehending or encountering nearly 75,000 aliens,” Nielsen testified. “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,” she continued. “But illegal immigration is simply spiraling out of control and threatening public safety and national security.”
Nielsen’s testimony comes at a time when lawmakers are set to pass a stunning rebuke against President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency that would have allowed him to begin building the wall with Pentagon funds. Democrats have opposed the declaration as a matter of course, but it is thought that they may have enough Republican votes in the Senate to actually pass the resolution on to the president’s desk. There, it will be quickly vetoed, but there’s no question that the congressional smackdown will be a political blow for Trump. It may also make it more difficult for his declaration to survive court challenges.
Nielsen, though, was determined to impress upon Congress how important it is for them to take border security seriously.
“We face a crisis — a real, serious, and sustained crisis at our borders. We have tens of thousands of illegal aliens arriving at our doorstep every month. We have drugs, criminals, and violence spilling into our country every week,” she said. “This is not a ‘manufactured’ crisis. This is truly an emergency.”
Alas, don’t expect Democrats to care.