Democrats grill Nielsen on immigration
by Kent Covington
Posted 3/07/19, 11:18 am
WASHINGTON—House Democrats grilled Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in a hearing Wednesday about President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Nielsen told the House Committee on Homeland Security that the situation at the U.S. southern border constitutes a crisis. She called on lawmakers to pass laws to close immigration system loopholes, saying, “Illegal immigration is simply spiraling out of control and threatening public safety and national security.”
Rep. Nanette Barragán, D-Calif., accused Nielsen of lying when she testified that asylum-seekers were not being wrongly turned away at legal ports of entry: “Either you’re lying to this committee, or you don’t know what’s happening at the border.” Barragán said she personally saw a Honduran man who should have been admitted denied entry last weekend.
Nielsen acknowledged the number of asylum-seekers has skyrocketed, creating the situation the president is trying to solve. Democrats charged that Trump administration policies are making the crisis worse. Lawmakers criticized Nielsen for her role in the short-lived zero tolerance policy in 2018 that separated parents from their children. Nielsen focused on the number of people trying to get into the country, noting that immigration courts ultimately grant asylum to just 1 in 10 applicants. She said the other 90 percent often disappear into the United States and never return home.
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