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Secretary Nielsen to Travel to Southern Border to Oversee Responses to Humanitarian and Security Emergency

Release Date: 
April 3, 2019

WASHINGTON - Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen will travel to the U.S.–Mexico border this week where DHS agents and officers are coping with record migration flows. The Secretary will meet with frontline operators to assess the crisis, the Department’s response, and efforts to surge federal government resources to the area to restore order.  She will also review the implementation of measures announced earlier this week to reassign port-of-entry personnel to support the humanitarian response and to provide the relief needed for agents to resume their security missions, including the impact this personnel reallocation has had on trade and travel. Secretary Nielsen will highlight the urgent need for lasting solutions to the emergency by urging Congress to fix the legal loopholes fueling migration flows.

On Wednesday, April 3, the Secretary will travel to El Paso, Texas where she will visit the El Paso Del Norte Port of Entry and the El Paso Border Patrol Station, as well as receive a briefing at the El Paso Station’s Satellite Processing Facility. El Paso’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Sector and facility has exceeded its capacity similar to nearly every sector across the Southwest Border.  

Secretary Nielsen will then travel to Yuma, Arizona on Thursday to meet with DHS leaders from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a roundtable meeting with local law enforcement officials, local elected officials, and representatives from non-governmental organizations. On Friday April 5, she will join President Donald Trump in Calexico, California to visit the border wall, participate in a roundtable discussion on the emergency, and discuss the way forward.

Yesterday, Secretary Nielsen announced that DHS would be taking a full-fledged “disaster response” approach to the border emergency, including appointing a lead federal official for interagency action and utilizing FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center. Secretary Nielsen has directed DHS agencies to surge resources and personnel from across the Department toward border security and migration management and has also put out a call for volunteers from non-border missions from both DHS component agencies and interagency partners.

This week, Secretary Nielsen directed CBP to undertake emergency surge operations, including immediately redeploying hundreds of CBP personnel from field operations and ports of entry to assist with the response to the crisis. By reassigning these personnel, Border Patrol agents will be freed up from humanitarian response and enabled to return to critical security operations.

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Last Published Date: September 20, 2019
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