President Trump is expected to use Tuesday evening’s Oval Office address to tout statistics showing a dramatic influx of families, drugs and criminals crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, as he makes the case that the situation is a humanitarian and national security crisis necessitating an effective physical barrier.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, in briefings with lawmakers, has cited administration figures showing 161,000 family units crossed the border in fiscal 2018, a stunning 50 percent increase from the year before. She has also said 60,000 unaccompanied children crossed the border last year, a 25 percent increase.
“More children and families are being apprehended between the ports of entry than ever before,” the presentation from Nielsen, given to lawmakers, states. “For the first time in history, family units and children comprise the vast majority of apprehensions.” The information cited Customs and Border Protection arrests and drug seizures.
The administration has said there has been a dramatic spike in illegal drugs on the border, including a 38 percent increase in methamphetamine from fiscal 2017 to 2018, a 22 percent increase in heroin and a 73 percent increase in fentanyl.