Ken Cuccinelli: ‘ICE Is Overcrowded; The Pipeline Is Clogged Farther Down the Pipe’

Melanie Arter | July 16, 2019 | 1:54pm EDT
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(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

( – Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli told CNN’s “State of the Union with Jake Tapper” on Sunday that the reason why Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities are overcrowded is because Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities are overcrowded.

“The reason you see overcrowding at Border Patrol facilities -- and your viewers should pay attention to this -- is not because of the Border Patrol. Their job is catch, process and then they hand them off to ICE,” Cuccinelli said. “ICE is overcrowded. The pipeline is clogged farther down the pipe. That's why you're seeing these pictures at the border.


“I was at the same sector of the border two weeks ago. These facilities were built to catch adult Mexican males, process them, and return them to Mexico typically on the same day. When I was down there, I saw children, frankly, well-cared for, but in space clearly not designed for that. So the Border Patrol in the El Paso sector is not only dealing with those numbers, but if you just go back to last October, they were in the number six sector on the border. Now they're number two,” he said.

Cuccinelli said President Donald Trump asked for more ICE detention beds in February.



“If you have such overcrowding in ICE facilities, you're about to do a raid on 2,000 individuals. Do you have the beds for them? Do you have the facilities for them? Because you're not going to be able to pick them up and send them back to Guatemala,” Tapper asked.

“ICE is prepared for that. That's right. There is processing involved, but a lot of that is prepared for on the front end. ICE plans these things superbly. They are ready to do that, and you cannot give up interior enforcement. Otherwise, you create one more pull factor here that they -- people think they can illegally come in the country, get by the border, and they're done, and that is not the case with Trump administration enforcement of the law,” Cuccinelli said.

Cuccinelli said deporting criminal aliens remains the priority for ICE. He also addressed the Mayor Bill de Blasio’s condemnation of the president’s decision to deport illegal aliens with final deportation orders.

“What we keep saying is, that will not be the exclusive limit of any operation, that that is the priority. You can expect it to remain the priority, and it's interesting to hear a mayor of a major city, America's biggest, say, well, this is what I would like to see done. Well, at the same time, people in his city and others who want a sanctuary, these sanctuary cities, are not cooperating with that exact effort. That's still ICE's priority,” Cuccinelli said.

“And ICE is protecting American -- Americans by removing those criminals from this country, while you have got sanctuary cities and states who are protecting these criminals by not cooperating with ICE,” he said.


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