ICYMI: Chairman Johnson Presses DHS on Humanitarian Crisis at Southwest Border

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, in recent weeks has requested the Department of Homeland Security’s plan to deal with the humanitarian crisis at the border as it worsens.

Chairman Johnson wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in September, seeking information about the surge of unaccompanied children and families from Central America arriving at the nation’s southwest border.

“In [fiscal year] 2014, we faced a humanitarian crisis at our border.  In all, more than 68,000 [unaccompanied children] and just as many family units arrived at our southwest border.  The majority of these people came from Central America, specifically Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras,” Chairman Johnson wrote in the letter. 

“Alarmingly, the shocking increases in apprehensions we saw in July have gotten even worse in August.  Nearly 6,000 unaccompanied children and more than 9,000 family units were apprehended in August.  For comparison purposes, these figures reflect a doubling to tripling of the number of people apprehended in the crisis of FY2014, where in August there were 3,138 [unaccompanied children] and 3,296 family units apprehended. 

“And yet, despite the shocking nature of this growing crisis, the Administration does not seem to be taking it seriously. While DHS has become more efficient at processing and dispersing people once they reach the southwest border, many children are finding themselves to be victims of this efficiency.  Specifically, [unaccompanied children] have been forced to work in unsafe conditions, miss school, and become victims of sexual predators after being dispersed by the U.S. government throughout the country.”

The letter is available here.

During a hearing last week, Chairman Johnson questioned Secretary Johnson over how his department would manage the surge happening at the border.

Click here to watch Chairman Johnson question DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Background:

Chairman Johnson’s 2015 report, “The State of America’s Border Security

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