Countering the claims of Democrats and other Trump critics, the U.S. Border Patrol chief told Congress the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border is a national security crisis.
“There is an ongoing debate as to whether this constitutes a border security crisis or a humanitarian crisis. Let me be clear, it is both,” Carla Provost told the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
Democrats argue border apprehensions are down, with the 361,000 people the Border Patrol caught in fiscal year 2018 less than half of the 1 million caught in the 1990s and 2000s, the Daily Caller noted.
Provost, however, said that “to understand the numbers, you have to look at what’s happening on the ground.”
While the majority of people apprehended at the border in years past were Mexican nationals, more than half of all border apprehensions currently are Central American children or families.
A 2008 trafficking law prevents any children not from Mexico or Canada from being immediately deported.
Consequently, Provost said, nearly 25 percent of her agents are diverted from their border security mission “to care for, transport and process family members and unaccompanied children.”
“We know that when agents are occupied, narcotics smugglers, criminal aliens, gang members and others use the opportunity to violate our borders and our laws,” she said.
She said many of the apprehended migrants are asking for medical care.
The Daily Caller noted Trump’s critics call the crisis declaration a “fake emergency.”
After the Democratic-majority House refused Trump’s request of $5.7 billion for barrier funding, the president made the emergency declaration to secure a total of $8 billion.
On Tuesday, the House voted to block Trump’s emergency declaration.
In addition, progressive groups are suing to block the move in court.