Appearing on Fox & Friends on Thursday morning, Jeh Johnson, who served as head of the Department of Homeland Security under former President Barack Obama, acknowledged that indeed, President Trump and the GOP are correct in saying there is a crisis at the southern border of the United States.
Host Brian Kilmeade asked Johnson, “So Jeh, one of the reasons we brought you here is because you are one of the few experts to have known what it’s like to have a crisis on the border. Are we in a crisis right now, the southern border in America?”
Brian, by any measure, 4,000 arrests in a day, 100,000 in a month — that's the population of the city of Albany, New York, that suddenly shows up on our southern border in one month — is a crisis. And it’s a crisis because it overwhelms our border patrol and our immigration officials’ ability to deal with it, and it’s a crisis because you have to absorb that population somehow into southern border towns. And so it overwhelms the humanitarian effort on our southern border; it overwhelms our DHS personnel, and frankly, it all emanates from the crisis that’s been going on for some time in Central America.
Johnson then segued into his perspective as to what should be done to fix the problem, saying:
That’s the most violent region of our world right now, and so one of the things that I’ve been saying continually, publicly, is that if we’re going to be able to deal with this problem, we have to address it at the source. Now a lot of people don’t want to hear that; they want quick, easy answers; they want some legal lever to pull, to do something dramatic and different, but this — to fix this problem emanating from Central America, we’ve go to make the long-term investment in addressing the poverty and violence in those nations; it can be done, a planned Colombia, but it requires a sustained political commitment, through, I suspect, multiple administrations.
On February 15 of this year, The Washington Post mocked the claim by the Trump administration that there was a crisis at the southern border. The Post’s editorial board wrote in their op-ed:
It is hard to single out any single event in Donald Trump’s presidency as the most untethered from truth and reality. Still, Friday’s news conference, in which Mr. Trump tried to defend his end run around Congress based on a make-believe emergency at the southern border, was, to use the president’s own words, a “big con game.”
Mr. Trump’s technique is to spin fiction as fact, secure in the knowledge that minds will reel as fact-checkers labor to deconstruct his ziggurat of falsehoods. So let’s stick to one big, basic truth: There is no crisis at the southern border.
There is no crisis, and there is no justification to specifically and surgically contravene the will of Congress, which just weighed and dismissed Mr. Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to build a border wall, opting instead to grant him $1.375 billion.