Immigration Experts: Democrats Are in Denial of Crisis at Border

“I’m concerned about the lack of factual grounding in our political debate.”

A top immigration expert criticized Democrat lawmakers seeking to downplay the severity of the U.S.-Mexico border crisis in a report published Thursday by The Washington Post.

Theresa Brown, a former Customs and Border Patrol policy adviser who now works at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said the situation at the border has “completely overwhelmed” the immigration system.

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“Yes, we are in a crisis situation at the border — a humanitarian crisis, a refu­gee crisis,” Brown said. “It’s absolutely, 100 percent true that every part of our border management system is beyond capacity and completely overwhelmed right now.”

Brown’s assessment counters the mainstream line for Democrats, who have vehemently dismissed President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration enforcement stances in the run-up to the 2020 election.

In support of their position, Democrats have pointed to apprehensions at the border trending to historic lows after the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who both beefed up border security.

Only 310,531 migrants were apprehended at the border in 2017  – more than half of the 705,005 taken into custody a decade earlier. But officials warn that border trends are changing, especially as more families flee war and poverty in Central America.

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In fact, 2019 is on pace to see the most border activity in more than a decade. C.B.P. has already apprehended 268,044 individuals this fiscal year, and is on pace for more than 700,000. The total would more than double the amount from just two years ago, drawing the concern of many career border and Homeland Security officials.

Speaking to the Washington Post anonymously, one senior U.S. official whose career has spanned multiple administrations said that Democrats currently lack “factual grounding.”

“I’m concerned about the lack of factual grounding in our political debate,” the official said. Democrats are “starting to not even believe data created by professionals,” the official added.

In February, Trump declared a national emergency to address the situation at the border. Democrats fiercely opposed the move, claiming no emergency exists.

In a press release issued earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security characterized circumstances at the border as having reached a “breaking point.”

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