(CNSNews.com) – Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson boasted to Congress on Tuesday that only about 242,000 illegal aliens have been caught at the U.S.-Mexico border so far in fiscal year 2015 -- a steady flow that Congress could stem by giving Central American countries $1 billion in foreign aid, he added.
“Through the month of June this fiscal year, total apprehensions on our southern border are at 242,435– a 36 percent decrease [from FY2014],” Johnson said in his written testimony to members of the House Judiciary Committee on July 14.
To help decrease the wave of illegal aliens, Johnson also urged Congress to approve President Barack Obama’s request for $1 billion in foreign aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to reduce the “push factors” Johnson claims are the “underlying factors” of illegal immigration.
“This [$1 billion] would be a sound investment, and we seek your support for it,” Johnson said in his testimony.
“Last year, the United States spent over $1.5 billion managing the migrant surge then,” he added. In Fiscal Year 2014, DHS alone spent over $500 million processing unaccompanied children and family units immediately following their detention at the border.
“It is a far better investment to help Central America create jobs, push back against violent crime, and help address the conditions in Central America that prompt desperate families to send their children to the United States,” Johnson continued.
On top of the $1 billion in foreign aid, the DHS is also requesting an additional $373 million request for “improved border technology and infrastructure, to include more remote video surveillance capability, sensors, night vision detection devices, wireless sensor data link systems, re-locatable towers, and replacement fence,” Johnson said.
Johnson also touted the Obama administration’s commitment to deporting the more than 380,000 illegal aliens who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally during last year’s border surge.
As part of Obama’s executive actions on immigration taken last November, the administration has “prioritized the removal of anyone who came to this country illegally after January 1, 2014,” Johnson said.
As CNSNews.com reported on Monday, about 127 unaccompanied alien children crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally per day in June, totaling 3,618 children that month alone. U.S. Customs and Border Protection report that so far in FY2015, 26,685 unaccompanied children have been apprehended at the Southwest U.S. border.
Of these, 14,773 have been sent to live with a sponsor, usually a relative, already living in the United States, according to the most recent data from the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Of the more than 111,000 unaccompanied children who have crossed into the United States illegally since October 2011, only about six percent have been returned to their home country. Thousands more await decisions in immigration courts, which can easily take several years to complete.
In addition to children crossing the border alone, a recent report from the Department of Justice shows that of the nearly 12,500 illegal alien adults who were apprehended with children at the U.S. border and released between July 18, 2014, and May 26, 2015, whose immigration cases have been completed, 11,516 of these adults were given orders of removal by an immigration judge.
Among these, 10,436 – about 84 percent of the total number of completed cases – were ordered removed in absentia, meaning they did not show up to court as scheduled.