WASHINGTON — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, questioned Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Tuesday on the increase of unaccompanied minors who are flooding the southwestern border of the United States.
“With just unaccompanied children from Central America, we’re up 49 percent over the first four months in (fiscal year) 2014, when it was a crisis. . . . Alarm bells ought to be ringing. The crisis has not been averted. It isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse.”
VIDEO: Watch Chairman Johnson’s remarks on unaccompanied minors here.
ICYMI: Washington Examiner: “Senator: Record number of unaccompanied minors set to flood southern border”
By Rudy Takala
March 8, 2016
Homeland Security officials are on track to apprehend a record number of unaccompanied minors trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico, the Senate Homeland Security chairman suggested on Tuesday.
From the beginning of the fiscal year, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told the committee, officials have apprehended 23,533 unaccompanied minors trying to cross the border.
“I think we’re possibly beyond crisis proportions here,” said Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. “Four months and we’re up to 23,000 already… 2014 was a crisis, right now I think we’re running ahead of 2014 levels,” Johnson added.
“If we maintain this pace, we’ll have 77,000 in 2016,” he said. The record was set in 2014, when Customs and Border Protection reported a total of 68,541 were apprehended at the border.
The Homeland Security head said his agency is nonetheless making progress, saying that 2015 was a “pretty good year.” His agency apprehended just under 30,000 unaccompanied minors last year, though there was a surge late in the season.
“I want to compare numbers with you,” the secretary said. “We had a pretty good year, it was down significantly from FY14 in terms of total apprehensions along the southwest border.
“In the fall, October, November, December, we saw an increase,” he said. “The number was 6,775 in the month of December. In January, the number went down by more than half … to 3,111. In February, 3,113. The March number so far, we’re only seven or eight days into March, is pretty much at the same pace as February, slightly higher.”
The Wisconsin senator replied that he stood by his concern. “Again, the point being … 2014 was a crisis, right now I think we’re running ahead of 2014 levels from the numbers I’m getting,” he said.
Read the full article here.
Johnson’s report “The State of America’s Border Security” released November 2015.
Johnson’s opening statement can be found here.
The full hearing can be found here.
Witness testimony can be found here.