(CNSNews.com) - The number of illegal border crossers and migrants presenting themselves at ports of entry on the southwest border but deemed “inadmissible” reached 103,000 in March and 109,000 in April - “the highest monthly levels in more than a decade,” acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan told Congress Thursday.
“In March, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered over 103,000 illegal border crossers and inadmissible aliens, and in April that number exceeded 109,000—the highest monthly levels in more than a decade,” he said Thursday in prepared testimony for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
By the end of fiscal year 2018, CPB “encountered more than 683, 000 illegal migrants and inadmissibles,” according to McAleenan.
“Homeland Security Investigations made more than 34,000 criminal arrests, of which 4,300 were gang-related; and law enforcement agents and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) seized more than one million pounds of illegal drugs,” he added.
“Keeping our traveling public safe is another vitally important job for DHS. For example, in FY 2018 the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened more than 800 million aviation passengers while preventing almost 4,200 firearms from being carried onto aircraft,” the acting secretary wrote.
McAleenan said the humanitarian crisis on the border is “even more dire and is rapidly overwhelming” the government’s ability to respond.
The Trump administration sent a supplemental budget request to Congress in early May to address the crisis after realizing DHS will run out of money sooner than expected.
“While our FY 2020 budget will help address this crisis, we will need additional funding sooner. Given the scale of the crisis, we will exhaust our resources before the end of this fiscal year, which is why the Administration sent a FY 2019 supplemental funding request to Congress earlier this month. The $4.5 billion FY 2019 supplemental request includes $1.1 billion for the Department of Homeland Security to address the immediate humanitarian crisis,” McAleenan wrote.
“The Southwest Border still lacks a permanent wall and persistent domain awareness in vulnerable areas. The FY 2020 Budget requests $8.6 billion in DHS and DOD funding for the construction of approximately 300 miles of new border wall system. A border wall is a proven deterrent that enhances U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) ability to apprehend those entering our Nation illegally; it is foundational to any strategy of achieving operational control of the Southwest Border,” he added.