Today Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) has again renewed his call for the Administration to better enforce our nation’s immigration laws and to protect our borders. In February, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had said illegal immigration numbers where decreasing. Congressman Cuellar disagreed and sent out a statement showing that data over a longer period of time actually showed that border apprehensions were continuing to increase. Today, in a statement by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, the Administration recognizes it was wrong in its previous calculations stating that the surge at the border was decreasing.
“We are a nation of laws and must secure our southern border. U.S. Border Patrol apprehension numbers show that there continues to be an increase in the numbers of unaccompanied children and families apprehended at the border, mostly from countries in Central America. In December, I along with Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX-12), chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, included $750 million in funding to help reduce illegal immigration to the United States from Central America. As of last week, only $23 million of these $750 million in funds had been appropriated. The Administration has to use these resources to address the roots of this problem in Central America
“Immigration detention centers are currently beyond capacity, and the Secretary has ordered additional space with the intention of processing and deporting individuals back to their country of origin. For immigrants who are pleading asylum, we must make sure that they have fast access to judicial hearings with an immigration judge who will determine their status.
“The backlog in cases, however, has led to many immigrants waiting years for their asylum cases to be heard. That’s why I successfully included funding in the FY16 Appropriations bill to hire 55 new immigration judges nationwide and we’re looking to add another 25 in FY17, to speed up the process while preserving asylum-seekers their right to an immigration hearing. I’m also planning to introduce language which would suspend visas to countries who do not accept their own citizens who have been ordered deported from the United States.
“Securing our borders is no easy task, which is why I have advocated for the use of state-of-the-art technology to monitor the border 24/7 at a lower cost to taxpayers.
“We must continue to encourage people from all over the world who wish to immigrate to the United States to do so through our safe and legal options.”
To see Congressman Cuellar’s statement from February, click here: /news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=399627
To see DHS Secretary Johnson’s statement released earlier today, click here: /news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=400687