DHS Secretary: ‘Trump Effect’ Wore Off Because of Lax Immigration Laws

By Melanie Arter | April 4, 2018 | 8:13 PM EDT

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (Screenshot)

(CNSNews.com) - Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday that the Trump effect - the precipitous drop in illegal border crossings once President Donald Trump took office - wore off because of the legal loopholes in the nation’s immigration laws.

“At that time we saw a precipitous drop in unlawful border crossings - 44 percent down in the first few months after the inauguration,” Nielsen said.

“This Trump effect - as many of you have referred to it, and we have as well - on illicit border activity was undeniable as smugglers, transnational criminal organizations and those who are responsible for illicit activity across our border were forced to wait and see if enhanced enforcement efforts would scale back their criminal activity for good,” she added.

Nielsen outlined the steps the Trump administration had taken in the last 15 months since Trump took office to strengthen border security.

“We stepped up the targeting of dangerous criminal gangs such as MS-13. We removed thousands more criminal aliens than the year prior. We no longer exempt entire classes of illegal aliens from the consequences of breaking our immigration laws,” she said.

“We began the first new border wall system construction in close to a decade. We modified our asylum system processing to more quickly adjudicate claims, and we ended so-called temporary immigration programs that were either constitutionally dubious or were administered in a manner that was inconsistent with the purpose of the law contrary to the intent of Congress,” Nielsen added.

“Despite these actions, we’ve recently seen the numbers of illegal border crossings rise from 40-year lows last April back to previous levels,” she said. Nielsen blamed that on the nation’s immigration laws and border security, which “fail the American people.”

“The system rewards bad behavior. It punishes lawbreakers. It undermines our nation’s economic interest. Make no mistake, interdiction without the ability to promptly remove those without legitimate cause is not border security. It is not national security,” she said.

“When the president took office, the traffickers, smugglers, TCOs, and the illegal aliens that served as their currency paused to see what our border enforcement efforts would look like and whether we could follow through on the deportation and removal,” Nielsen said.

“While we have been apprehending aliens at the border with historic efficiency, these illicit smuggling groups saw that our ability to actually remove those who come here illegally did not keep pace,” the secretary said.


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