Speaking to Fox News’s Neil Cavuto Wednesday night, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson dropped quite the bomb about activity along the southern U.S. border:
“We had 100,000 apprehensions or encounters in the month of March and another 100,000 in the month of April. It’s the highest it’s been in 12 years.”
The former Obama official put it further into perspective:
“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. That creates a crisis, first of all emanating from Central America, traveling through Mexico along the Mexican side of the southern border and the U.S. side of the southern border.”
That’s a lot. I’d have been shocked if he’d just said “the population of Disney World on a Saturday.” That’s a whole lotta sweaty skin-on-skin and a boatload of baby strollers. But the entire city? Yeah — we’re in a pickle.
If “apprehensions or encounters” number 200,000, how many are gettin’ through?
And this is news, it should be noted, from a Democrat — the same side of the aisle from which we’ve gotten “A wall is an immorality” (here).
On the plus side in the fight against a porous border, Jeh gave Trump’s latest choice for DHS secretary the ol’ Thumbs Up:
“[Kevin McAleenan is] a good man. I have a lot of faith in him. He’s right that what we faced in 2014 is a fraction of what we’re seeing today.”
At the time, Jeh was already preaching the Crisis Gospel to Cavuto:
“That is by far a greater number than anything I saw on my watch in my three years as secretary of Homeland Security.”
America has a problem, and congressional Democrats — along with, some have asserted, quite a few Republicans — don’t seem particularly interested in solving it.
But it needs to be addressed, and Wednesday, Jeh explained that it’s about things other than merely building a wall:
“The message — the lesson from all of this — is you can do certain things short term to affect the numbers, but as long as the underlying conditions of poverty and violence in those three countries in Central America persist, we’re always going to see things revert to their longer-term trends and patterns.”
So what about Mexico’s part? Neil asked:
“Do you think Mexicans are doing enough to contain that? Control that?”
“One of the things we were able to do in 2014 to contain the spike there was to work with the Mexican government constructively to do more with their southern border with Central America…such that in 2015, we saw the 2nd lowest number of apprehensions since 1972.”
As for doin’ that now: Not so much.
Will the two parties come together on the border issue? Not likely. And it’ll require more than a brief cooperation:
“It takes time, it takes a sustained political commitment through multiple administrations…”
Tall order, Jeh. Tall order.
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