Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kevin McAleenan says his mandate is significantly cutting the number of illegal migrants crossing the southern border.
“The president was very clear, he wants to see a vast reductions in crossings through Mexico. He believes Mexico can do more to address this flow from Central America. That’s the number one metric that we’re looking for,” McAleenan told Hill.TV in a video published Tuesday.
McAleenan, who was the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) commissioner until mid-March, said the situation is at a “breaking point” after inspecting the El Paso, Texas crossing in April, according to the El Paso Times.
Appointed to DHS that same month, the acting director has been in sync with President Donald Trump’s goal of getting tough with illegal immigration at the southern border and effectively dealing with the border crisis. McAleenan also expects Mexico to get serious about securing its southern border with Guatemala, where migrant caravans have consistently crossed. (RELATED: Border Violence Up 300% Since Migrant Caravan Arrival, Says Government)
“We want to stop that flow there and we’re encouraging our Mexican partners to take those actions,” McAleenan said, adding that the U.S. routinely provides Mexico with the latest intelligence about human smuggling operations that are coordinated by organized crime.
Also, McAleenan expects more action from Mexico on its northern border and to work with DHS to reduce the flow of illegals.
“We also want to partner on our northern border. We can’t have the situation where 1,000 people in one group can cross the border at 4 a.m. without any interdiction or any effort to stop that unlawful activity,” he said.
While seemingly trying to work diplomatically with Mexico, Trump is also attempting to play hardball in his effort to move Mexico to instill tougher border control. Last week, the president announced he would be slapping a five percent tariff on Mexico, and a subsequent increase thereafter, if it did not cooperate with his plans. Despite some opposition from Republican lawmakers, Trump is promising to impose the tariff by next Monday. (RELATED: Mexican Official Leading Tariff Negotiations Compares Trump To Hitler, Calling Him ‘Mexico’s Enemy’)
“Mexico shouldn’t allow millions of people to try to enter our country and they could stop it very quickly. I think they will,” Trump declared, adding, “If they won’t, we’re going to put tariffs on.”