Tucson (AZ), .- Secretary of the Department of National Security (DHS), Kirstjen Nielsen, called on Congress to act as soon as possible in the migration crisis that lives in the southern border of the country, during a visit this Thursday to the city of Yuma, Arizona, adjacent to Mexico.
Nielsen stressed that current immigration laws must be changed and also asked that families remain in detention while a judge determines whether they are eligible to apply for asylum.
“We’ve quickly seen how this has gone from a crisis to an emergency, and now we’re about to see the system collapse and the numbers indicate that,” Nielsen said during a press conference at the Border Patrol station in Yuma.
The DHS leader said that only 75,000 immigrants were arrested at the border during the month of February, and that 100,000 arrests were reported last March, although she said she did not have the final figures yet.
The Secretary of National Security explained that the migratory flow has changed significantly in the last decade; before it was mostly men from Mexico who traveled alone, while now entire families arrive in large groups to the border.
“We are operating at maximum, our facilities are saturated, some up to more than 200%, only yesterday, 14,000 immigrants were in the custody of the Office of Aduna and Border Protection (CBP) .These are migrants waiting to be processed” said Nielsen.
In his opinion, Congress must act as soon as possible and change “outdated laws” that allow vulnerable populations such as children to be exploited by criminal organizations.
“We need barriers, we need to keep families together in custody while a judge decides if they have a” case “to stay in the country and not have to release them with the promise that they will appear before the court,” he said.
Nielsen indicated that unaccompanied minors should be treated “all” in the same way regardless of their nationality.
Currently, only Mexican or Canadian minors are returned to their countries of origin quickly, while those from other countries, mostly from Central America, are sent to detention centers while a tutor is located.
“We are forced by law to keep Central American children in custody while we find a sponsor,” Nielsen said.
Last week, the Border Patrol began freeing immigrant families in the city of Yuma due to lack of space to keep them in detention.
The President, Donald Trump, is expected to visit the Calexico border in California tomorrow, where he will tour a part of the border wall recently built in that area. (EFEUSA)