Illegal Immigration Jumps for Third Straight Year Under Obama

Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, October 9, 2014

Illegal immigration on the southwestern border spiked 14 percent over the past year, marking the third straight increase, though Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said it was almost all because of the surge of illegal immigrant children and families from Central America–a crisis he said is subsiding.

In a broad speech on the state of border enforcement, Mr. Johnson promised more transparency from his department but challenged the press to be responsible in reporting on threats such as Ebola and the possibility of terrorists crossing the border.

He said he was not delivering “a ‘mission accomplished’ speech” and acknowledged that more needs to be done to secure the borders.

However, he said the summer flood of unaccompanied Central American children and families has fallen to rates not seen since 2012.

“The worst is over for now,” Mr. Johnson said in remarks to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Overall, the Border Patrol apprehended 479,377 illegal immigrants in fiscal year 2014, a jump of nearly 65,000 in one year alone and almost a 45 percent increase over the low point in 2011, when fewer than 330,000 were apprehended. Still, it’s far less than the million-plus catch recorded every year in the middle of the last decade, or the record 1.6 million illegal immigrants caught in 2000.


Mr. Johnson said he is not declaring victory and that his agents will be ready for another surge should the lull prove to be a seasonal drop. {snip}

Still, Mr. Johnson dismissed descriptions of the border as “porous” and rejected claims that illegal immigrants or Islamic State terrorists can pass easily.

In particular, he rebutted a claim by Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, that four men with ties to the Islamic State group, also known by the acronyms ISIL and ISIS, were caught coming across the border.

“In fact, these four individuals were arrested, their supposed link to terrorism was thoroughly investigated and checked, and in the end amounted to a claim by the individuals themselves that they were members of the Kurdish Workers’ Party–an organization that is actually fighting against ISIL and defended Kurdish territory in Iraq,” Mr. Johnson said. “Nevertheless, these individuals have been arrested for unlawful entry, they are detained, and they will be deported.”


Mr. Johnson detailed the massive buildup in infrastructure and manpower that has helped cut the flow of illegal immigrants: 18,127 Border Patrol agents in the Southwest, more than 400 camera systems, nearly 12,000 ground sensors, eight unmanned aerial vehicles and 353 miles of primary fencing–most of that added in the past eight years.


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