Politics

Here’s Why What’s Happening On The Border Is Unprecedented, According To Top Officials

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent

Illegal arrivals at the U.S. southern border are at a 10-year high with no sign of abatement, current and former officials tell The Daily Caller. U.S. authorities are warning that the situation is completely unprecedented and nearing a full blown crisis.

President Donald Trump responded to the developing situation by declaring a national emergency at the border in mid-February in order to use military funds and begin construction on a border wall. Critics of the Trump administration say the White House is manufacturing a crisis in order to fulfill a signature campaign promise.

U.S. Marines help to build a concertina wire barricade at the U.S. Mexico border in preparation for the arrival of a caravan of migrants at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego

U.S. Marines help to build a concertina wire barricade at the U.S. Mexico border in preparation for the arrival of a caravan of migrants at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego, California, U.S., November 13, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake

These critics are quick to point to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, which shows that the total number of border apprehensions has more than halved since a peak in the mid-2000s. U.S. authorities, former officials, and representatives for those at the border tell the Caller that these numbers do not tell the full extent of the story.

“What’s different about the current migrant flow — and this is important — is not just how many people are coming but who is arriving.  Historically, illegal aliens crossing into the United States were predominantly single adult males from Mexico with no legal right to stay here, and who we could quickly detain and remove within 48 hours,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified Wednesday before Congress. (RELATED: Another Democratic Governor Is Pulling National Guard Troops From The Border)

National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd explained to the Caller, “the vast majority of the people crossing the border illegally 10 to 20 years ago were from Mexico, and were repatriated almost immediately upon crossing the border illegally.”

Former Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan echoed Nielsen and Judd’s explanation to the Caller, noting that in the mid-2000s it was extremely simple to deport a detained would-be illegal immigrant.

“I caught the same guy 3 or 4 times in a shift,” he exclaimed, noting that agreements with Mexico made repatriation simple for single males from Mexico.

Children of Maria Meza, a 40-year-old migrant woman from Honduras, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America trying to reach the United States, on their way to the Otay Mesa port of entry in San Diego to be processed as an asylum seeker, in Tijuana, Mexico December 17, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

“Now you’ve got these family members from Central America, they’re children,” he continued, adding “they can’t be returned.”

Homan added that further complicating the system is the asylum process, with families requesting the legal status in en masse.

“Only one in ten are ultimately granted asylum by an immigration judge. Unfortunately, when it comes time to remove the other 90 percent, they have often disappeared into the interior of our country,” Nielsen said of the families.

Judd also remarked that “today, we deal more with Central Americans who violate our Immigration Laws and claim asylum.  Instead of being repatriated, they’re released into the United States pending a future court date.”

Judd, Homan, and Nielsen warned that Mexican drug cartels are profiting off the business of human smuggling and taking advantage of the border crisis to move their product. Homan noted that the cartels virtual control of nearly the entire U.S.-Mexico border enabled them to strategically tie up border patrol assets so they can flood a particular zone with drugs.

Judd noted, “different eras, different problems, but the one common is that the border is not secure, and there doesn’t seem to be the political will in Congress to address this age-old issue.”