For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
NOGALES, Ariz. — Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson returned to the southwest border, this time to visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)’s Nogales Placement Center in Nogales, Arizona with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino. Secretary Johnson was in Nogales as part of his continued oversight of the government-wide response to the recent influx of unaccompanied children and adults with children across the southwest border.
At the Nogales Placement Center, Secretary Johnson, Governor Brewer and Mayor Garino met with CBP Joint Field Command Commander Jeffrey Self, CBP Acting Chief Patrol Agent Jose Cruz and other CBP leadership to review and discuss site operations in support of the recent influx of unaccompanied children. During the visit, Secretary Johnson reiterated that the Nogales Placement Center is a short term facility, and long term solutions are needed to address the urgent humanitarian situation. While in Nogales, Secretary Johnson also thanked Mayor Garino for his support, and reiterated the importance of communication with State and local officials in addressing the ongoing response to the influx of unaccompanied children and adults with children coming across the southwest border.
Over the past few months, CBP has seen a significant increase in the apprehension of unaccompanied children and adults with children from Central America in the Rio Grande Valley area of the southwest border. While overall border apprehensions across our entire border have only slightly increased during this time period and remain at near historic lows, the rise in apprehensions and processing of children in the Rio Grande Valley presents unique operational challenges for the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services. CBP has provided updated apprehension data for the southwest border.
To ensure the border security mission is not impacted, CBP has moved additional experienced agents from less active sectors to augment the mission. The Secretary is also considering additional agents based on his review of operations. These additional agents allow RGV the flexibility needed to achieve more interdictions, effectiveness and ensure the border security mission is not impacted. DHS, together with the Department of Justice (DOJ), has added personnel and resources to the investigation, prosecution and dismantling of the smuggling organizations that are facilitating border crossings into the Rio Grande Valley. Homeland Security Investigations, which is part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has surged 60 additional criminal investigators and support personnel to their San Antonio and Houston offices for this purpose.
The Department remains committed to managing the urgent situation by making sure these children are housed, fed, and receive any necessary medical treatment. The Administration is also taking steps to improve enforcement and partnering with our Central American counterparts in three key areas: combating gang violence and strengthening citizen security, spurring economic development, and improving capacity to receive and reintegrate returned families and children. Last week, DHS also announced that it will establish a temporary facility for adults with children on the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center’s Artesia, N.M. campus. The establishment of this facility will allow ICE to increase our capacity to hold and expedite the removal of the increasing number of adults with children illegally crossing the southwest border. This facility is one of several that DHS is developing for this purpose.
At the direction of President Barack Obama and Secretary Johnson, on June 1, a Unified Coordination Group was established to leverage Federal resources to provide humanitarian relief to the ongoing situation. This includes DHS and all of its components, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Defense, Justice, State and the General Services Administration. Secretary Johnson appointed Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate to serve as the Federal Coordinating Official for this U.S. Government-wide effort.