Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is asking Congress for legislation to address the "root causes of the emergency" at the nation's border, according to a copy of a letter to Congress obtained by NBC News.
In the letter, Nielsen said she'll be seeking a legislative proposal that will allow for the authority to hold families who are seeking asylum in detention until their cases are decided, allow for quicker deportation of unaccompanied migrant children, and to allow immigrants to apply for asylum from their home countries.
"We are grappling with a humanitarian and security catastrophe that is worsening by the day," said Nielsen in the letter. "The Department has run out of capacity despite extraordinary intra-Departmental and interagency efforts."
However, a legislative proposal would first have to get through the Democrat-controlled House, where it likely will be opposed, notes NBC.
Meanwhile, daily border crossings are at a 13-year high and immigrants are being released from custody, leaving many seeking asylum to wait without shelter.
"What we are seeing is nearly unprecedented in the modern era," said Nielsen, explaining that the series of caravans arriving at the border are bringing in hundreds of migrants at a time.
Nielsen said in her letter that a law limiting the ability to deport migrant children is a "dangerous pull factor."
Health and Human Services "is still approaching its maximum capacity and will very likely require thousands of additional beds in the coming weeks and months," she added.
According to a senior administration official, the costs associated with Nielsen's request could total hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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