WASHINGTON, D.C. (PR) — Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Jeh Johnson released the numbers of apprehensions along the Southwest border during the month of July and prior months, which reflect a significant decrease in apprehensions of unaccompanied children and adults with children:
Secretary Johnson noted that apprehensions in the first few days of August continue along the July trend.
Secretary Johnson also stated:
“We have surged resources and put in place an aggressive campaign to counter the rise of illegal migration into the Rio Grande Valley. We have dramatically reduced the removal time for many unaccompanied adults from about 33 to four days. We have built additional detention space for adults with children at Artesia, New Mexico, and another facility that was transitioned last week in Karnes City, Texas, and we are about to open an additional facility for the same purpose.
We have increased the number of flights to repatriate people back to Central America. The Department of Justice and this Department are dedicating additional resources to removal proceedings involving unaccompanied children and families, to ensure they are sent home quickly and safely and in accordance with our laws.
On July 22, U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole and I announced “Operation Coyote,” to crack down on the criminal smuggling organizations that operate in the Rio Grande Valley. On July 25, President Obama and Vice President Biden had very productive discussions with the Presidents of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador at the White House, followed by my own meeting with President Molina of Guatemala to continue the discussions we began on July 8 in Guatemala.”
Secretary Johnson continued:
“While the decrease in apprehensions in July is good news and reflects a positive trend that we hope continues, the current numbers are still higher than the number of apprehensions for children and adults with children during past years. We continue to have much work to do to address this issue and our message continues to be clear—‘our border is not open to illegal migration.’ Unless you qualify for some form of humanitarian relief, we will send you back consistent with our laws and values.
In all, DHS is reprogramming $405 million away from other mission areas to support the response to this situation in the Rio Grande Valley. It is also forcing us to dial back some of the actions we intended to take to deal with the Rio Grande Valley. Given Congress’ failure to act, the Department is left with no good choices.”
In South Carolina
Columbia's City Council voted Tuesday in favor of a resolution put forth by Mayor Steve Benjamin to welcome immigrant children to the city.
There's been an influx of tens of thousands of children crossing the border into the U.S. illegally since last year to flee violence in Central America countries. Benjamin says at least 350 of these children were sent to South Carolina to stay with sponsors or relatives.
Benjamin said in a news release that City Council is expected to put together a workgroup tasked with finding additional ways the city can help meet the children's needs.