Statistics indicate the Trump administration’s efforts to tighten the border are having a positive impact, but there is still a lot of work needed to be done according to acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli.
In an interview with Huntsville, AL radio’s WVNN during an appearance in Washington, D.C. at the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s (FAIR) Hold Their Feet to the Fire annual radio event, Cuccinelli noted a significant drop in border apprehension. However, he says conditions are still at “crisis levels.”
“In May, we had over 144,000 apprehensions through the course of the summer doing a lot of different things,” he said. “There’s no one silver bullet. We’ve got that down to 64,000 apprehensions. I’m confident we’ll drive it down again in September. We haven’t seen the numbers yet, but that’s the direction we’re headed, I think. The key is continuing that trend.”
“You know 64,000 looks great compared to 144,000,” Cuccinelli continued. “But if you compare it to the last seven years, there’s only been two months higher than that number in the whole seven years other than 2019. So, we’re still at crisis levels, and that’s how we’re addressing it. That’s why we continue to throw new legal tool after new legal tool into the fight here, and we’re having a real effect.”
Ultimately, Cuccinelli said it would be up to Congress to get things at an acceptable level.
“Until Congress weighs in to cut off these encouragements to come here illegally long-term, and they’re really sitting on the sideline, especially the House – at least over in the Senate, Sen. [Lindsey] Graham and the Republicans there on the Judiciary Committee made a run at fixing some of the asylum loopholes – but in the House, all you see is show hearings with no apparent intent to move any legislation that will help us at all,” he explained. “What the president is doing here is just basic common sense.”
When asked if he thought the downward trend could continue, Cuccinelli said yes and applauded the efforts of President Donald Trump, particularly with regards to Mexico.
“I do,” he replied. “I just know that in many ways it can be tenuous. You know, we’ve got great cooperation with Mexico because of how tough, frankly, the president was with them earlier in the year. And the real threat, the very real threat of tariffs, which matters to Mexico a great deal. It’s a big deal to them. We are more important to them economically than they are to us. It is something this president understand in every country we deal with. And that’s leverage in these negotiations.”
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