ASPEN, Colo.—DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson confirmed Thursday that the Obama administration in January anticipated a surge of some 60,000 illegal children crossing the Southwest Border.
“It was apparent to me then that the Rio Grand valley sector of the Southwest border needed to be an area of particular concern,” Johnson said during remarks at the Aspen Security Forum.
“In January, in our budget process, we estimated that we were going to have 60,000 unaccompanied kids coming in,” he said, noting that resources for the influx were “ramped up.”
The border crisis grew worse during the period between March, April, and May when “unprecedented levels” of children crossed the border, he said. The surge peaked with thousands of illegals reaching the U.S. border in early June.
The illegal immigrants have created a security and humanitarian crisis that has taxed both law enforcement and health authorities who are trying to deal with the immigrant children. Thousands have been housed on military bases and there have been outbreaks of disease at the detention centers, including pneumonia and swine flu.
The comments by the DHS secretary indicate the Obama administration had months of warning about the problem.
Conservative news outlets reported in June that DHS sought bids for a contract Jan. 29 seeking help in handling 65,000 unaccompanied alien children.
The influx of children was based on information circulated outside the United States indicating that if foreign immigrants could reach U.S. soil the government was required to take them in.
Johnson said in early May he telephoned officials of Central American countries to try and stem the illegal migrant flows.
…Asked if terrorists are using the influx of illegal immigrants to gain entry into the United States, Johnson said the problem is a concern.
But he said the number of potential terrorists among those detained at the border so far has been low.
Pressed for details on the potential entry of terrorists, Johnson said those that are apprehended are closely scrutinized for indicators. “And if there are indicators somebody might be motivated by terror, that is a fact that is noted in regular reports,” he said.
Johnson also said there is a real threat that U.S. and western nationals who travel to Syria to fight with Islamist rebels will return to conduct terror attacks in the United States and the West.
“The numbers are very troublesome,” Johnson said of the westerners fighting in Syria.
Full article: DHS Anticipated 60,000 Illegal Child Border Crossers in January (Washington Free Beacon)