Former Obama administration Department of Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson argued that with approximately the population of the city of Orlando being apprehended at the southern border every two months, the U.S. is definitely dealing with a “crisis.”
“We had 100,000 apprehensions in the month of March and another 100,000 in the month of April. That’s the highest it’s been in 12 years,” Johnson told Fox News host Neil Cavuto on Wednesday.
“Think of it this way: that is the equivalent of the population of the city of Orlando, Florida, showing up on our southern border in the course of two months,” he added.
President Obama’s former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on the illegal aliens flooding the U.S.: Equivalent to the population of Orlando showed up on the border in just 2 monthspic.twitter.com/6KxN7Y8Zk1
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) May 15, 2019
Johnson also affirmed the importance of a border wall at strategic locations to help address the crisis.
“We should not view a wall or a fence as a black and white issue,” he said. “Are there are places on the southern border where some form of barrier could be fortified or an existing barrier replaced or something of that nature? Yeah.”
Additionally, Johnson expressed confidence that President Donald Trump’s recently named acting DHS chief Kevin McAleenan — who worked as deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection during the Obama administration — has a “smart border security plan” ready to be implemented.
Johnson told Cavuto part of the current crisis has been created by the Flores court decision.
Under the 1997 Flores v. Reno settlement, federal authorities may only detain unaccompanied migrant children for 20 days, then they must be released to parents, adult relatives or sanctioned programs.
In 2015, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee, an Obama appointee, ruled that the Flores requirements apply to both unaccompanied minors and children apprehended with their parents. This update makes deporting families with children seeking asylum virtually impossible.
“The Flores decision has not helped frankly,” Johnson said. “That was a decision reached by a federal district court in Los Angeles in 2015. I was opposed to it then. I’m opposed to it now.”
The Hill reported that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave the Trump administration a rare immigration policy victory last week, ruling federal authorities can continue to require asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for the court to adjudicate their petitions.
The panel of judges issued a stay on a lower court ruling blocking implementation of the policy, while litigation concerning it proceeds.
The 9th Circuit found that DHS was likely to suffer irreparable harm if the policy was halted because it “takes off the table one of the few congressionally authorized measures available to process the approximately 2,000 migrants who are currently arriving at the Nation’s southern border on a daily basis.”
Cavuto asked Johnson if he stuck by his assessment — first made last month — that there is a crisis at the border, as Trump has been contending.
“It’s very definitely a crisis,” Johnson answered. “This is common sense. Two-hundred thousand people in two months on our southern border is a crisis.”