McALLEN, Texas — The new Homeland Security Secretary toured the Texas border and pointed out the need for more physical barriers, technology, agents, prosecutors, judges and undoing decades of failed policy.
Just days after being confirmed as Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen visited the Texas border where she met with the local and national leaders of the U.S. Border Patrol. They gave Nielsen an on-the-ground look at the challenges currently being faced in regards to border security.
“Decades of systemic policy failures make it almost impossible to fully carry out the law,” Nielsen said during a question and answer session following her visit to the border.
The current administration is working to get a new border wall system that includes key parts in this city, as well as the implementation of technology and added manpower.
“That’s just a down payment, we want and need to do more to secure our border,” Nielsen said referring to the discussions that she had with law enforcement officials during her trip. “Where they need a wall, what kind of wall.”
Cities in Arizona and California where walls or fences exist have shown that physical barriers work in helping slow illicit activities however, they are just part of a bigger picture, she said.
Some of the government failures discussed by the DHS secretary point to substantial backlogs in immigration cases while the number of individuals entering the country illegally continue to rise.
“Our immigration courts are backlogged by more than 600,000 cases,” Nielsen said. “More are added every day and thousands of illegal aliens are still attempting to cross our border every month.”
According to the DHS secretary, the average immigration case takes 682 days to be completed.
“All the while aliens remain in the United States.” she said. “Many illegal aliens and visa violators are released until their hearing because of problematic court procedures … many of them disappear into the interior of the country never to come before a judge.”
To expedite those processes and remove “illegal border crossers as promptly as possible”, Nielsen is looking to hire 1,000 (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) attorneys and 370 immigration judges. The department is considering closing loopholes and changing procedures to discourage abuses, she said.
“Asylum is for those truly in need of the protections provided by this country, not for those who are opportunistic,” Nielsen said.
Currently, there are more than 1 million individuals who have gone through the immigration system and have received final orders of removal from a judge. Nielsen wants to hire 10,000 ICE officers to expedite the removal of those individuals and is also looking for 300 federal prosecutors to handle the growing number of crimes carried out by those in the country illegally.
One of the alarming trends discussed by the DHS secretary dealt with the attacks on U.S. Border Patrol agents by human smugglers, drug traffickers and those in the country illegally.
“That has to stop,” Nielsen said. “We will prosecute this. Two years ago we had 403 attacks on border patrol agents, last year we had 678 attacks. That is a 68 percent increase.”
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
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