Migrant Center Fire ‘Could Be’ With Border ‘Crisis’ – Magnet Shelter System


On NewsNation’s “Elizabeth Vargas Reports” Wednesday, former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said the U.S. asylum system is a “magnet” and that a fire at a migrant center is “inevitable” given the dire conditions in the United States. The Mexican border is a “crisis.”

Johnson: “Elizabeth, I think this is a crisis. I said it was a crisis four years ago under the Trump administration when the numbers were about 4,000 a day. We have seen numbers of 4000 and more. The good thing is that their number is decreasing in the last two or three months. In January and February, the number of arrests on our southern border decreased. But I know the administration is very concerned about what happens when the 42nd term expires in May and is thinking very carefully about its options. The situation is difficult on several levels. First of all, it’s much bigger than when I was in office… the numbers, over 2 million arrests in one year. When I was in power, we saw that it fluctuated from 400,000 to 300,000 a year. Source Countries – The list is much longer… it includes Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela in addition to Central American countries. Moreover, smugglers now know how to transport more migrants. In conclusion, the lessons I have learned during my tenure are that there are things we can do to improve law and order, strengthen enforcement, and deter people on our southern border. But as long as the main driving factors remain in those countries, poverty, violence, corruption, they will continue. So we need to focus on solving these problems in the source countries. I know President Biden believes that.

He added: “The reality is that there are aspects of our broken system that serve as magnets for illegal immigration … you pointed out that there is a relatively low threshold early in the refugee claim process for establishing what we call credible apprehension, although in this country the marginal chance of obtaining asylum is much higher. And between them there are years before the start of the process. When migrants come here, they know that the backlog in the system is itself a magnet for immigration, so Congress and the executive branch really need to come together on this.

Johnson concluded, “The situation on Mexico’s northern border with us is terrible because you have people waiting to enter the United States and the facilities there are not ideal. What happened at this center for migrants was a real, real tragedy. But, unfortunately, such a thing must happen.

Follow up Ian Hanchett is on Twitter @IanHanchett

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