Acting Department of Homeland Secretary, Kevin McAleenan, spoke to the media Friday and thanked Congress and the Senate for emergency funding to deal with the crisis at the southern border.
The $4.6 billion bipartisan measure was drafted and passed by the Republican controlled Senate and passed by the Democrat controlled House.
“This funding will provide an additional $1.5 billion for the Department of Homeland Security for additional temporary facilities, transportation, medical care, consumables and surge operations related to the care custody and processing of migrants apprehended at the border and crossing at ports of entry,” said McAleenan.
The secretary also thanked the Border Patrol agents, ICE, Homeland Security agents, and many other professionals and volunteers who have worked long hours to help with the crisis and bring relief to those in need.
“All of whom have been working tirelessly without thanks or enough support to care for the unprecedented surge of vulnerable families and children in our care. All while still securing our border. I am in awe of their effort and steadfast commitment,” McAleenan said.
The secretary also pointed out that reports from the media were misrepresenting the treatment of children held in custody at the border.
“Contrary to the reporting, children in CBP custody of the border are receiving access to key supplies including toothbrushes, appropriate meals, blankets, showers as soon as they can be provided and medical screening,” said secretary McAleenan.
Speaking with the media before departing for the G-20 Summit in Japan, President Trump addressed the ongoing crisis at the border.
“I think that a lot of people are starting to realize that I was right when I said we have a crisis at the border. Everyone’s saying now we had a crisis said the border. It wasn’t a manufactured crisis which they were saying,” the president said.
President Trump then focused on the abuses and dangers faced by those who make the long trek to the southern U.S. border.
“Women are being raped on the journey up. You have these caravans. Women are being raped and one of the terrible things, children are actually being brought into slavedom, if you look at what’s happening. The cartels and the Coyotes; they’re getting rich because the Democrats refuse to change the loopholes, they refuse to change the asylum. In one hour we could have it done. They want to have open borders and open borders mean crime and open borders mean people drowning in the rivers and it’s a very dangerous thing.” said the president.
Secretary McAleenan also addressed how the current situation at the border is attracting people who are put into danger due to the lure of easy entrance into the United States.
“At the same time, the story is also about vulnerable populations from Central America who continue to be enticed into a smuggling cycle that puts them at risk and enriches violent criminal organizations. This cycle puts children in danger, as we have seen tragically and devastatingly in the images of Oscar and Valeria on the banks of the Rio Grande. Valeria was the fourth child… fourth death of a child in the past week attempting to cross into the United States.” said the secretary.
Although stating appreciation for the emergency funding, Secretary McAleenan said that the situation must be addressed based on the facts and the actual issues causing the problems and that Washington must act.
“The situation should not be acceptable to any of us.” said McAleenan. “It should galvanize action and real debate based on what is actually happening on the border and why. And yet here in Washington we have collectively failed to act to address the drivers of the crisis. This failure is not on the men and women of DHS and definitely not on the outstanding border patrol agents, CBP officers and ICE officers, who have borne the brunt of the challenges and most of the criticism.”
Just before departing for Japan where he is dealing with multiple ongoing international crises, President Trump shared the same views as the acting secretary of homeland security, urging that the problems be addressed at the root.
“We can solve the problem if they would change some of the rules and regulations, change asylum, change so many different things. The loopholes in particular could be done very quickly and you wouldn’t have this problem. I’ve been saying it for a year and a half.”