DHS chief says more funds needed to handle crush of migrants

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"Given the scale of what we are facing, we will exhaust our resources before the end of this fiscal year", McAleenan told lawmakers in his first testimony on Capitol Hill. His death is under investigation. Customs and Border Protection also maintains that the searches are legal and exceedingly rare.

DHS officials said they have detected more than 1,000 cases of fraudulent families trying to cross the border since October, reaching that determination through document screenings and other traditional investigative methods. Instead, thousands are showing up every day (in what USA officials have dubbed the "conveyor belt") and are turning themselves over to Border Patrol agents so they can claim asylum.

The $4.5 billion request includes $3.3 billion for humanitarian assistance such as increased shelter capacity and money to feed and care for migrants, the White House said in a fact sheet.

It's unclear, however, if Congress will approve the extra funding.

Homan's criticism of Congress comes after the White House on Tuesday asked Congress for $4.5 billion in additional border emergency spending.

"This is about the Trump administration's agenda of locking up any asylum seeker they can to deter people from seeking protection under our laws", said Michael Tan, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union.

The money is on top of more than $8 billion that President Trump sought in his budget request, as well as some $6 billion more in funding he sought through his declaration of a national emergency at the border. It's not only the uptick in illegal border crossings that's raised issues for DHS, however; it's also the shift in population - from single men to families and children predominantly from Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Vought also faulted Mexico for not doing more to stem the tide of migrants passing through from Central America to the U.S. Border stations were not constructed to handle such a large volume of children and families, and they have been pushed to the breaking point.

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The acting Homeland Security secretary noted the administration also plans to send Congress a legislative proposal soon to address the key driving factors of the humanitarian crisis.

Almost 190,000 people entered the country in family units without immigration documents between October and March, according to Customs and Border Protection statistics.

Kevin McAleenan, Trump's acting secretary of Homeland Security, met on Tuesday with a small group of Democratic senators in hopes of winning the support of at least some of the politically moderate ones.

"The situation at the border becomes more dire each day", a senior administration official said. The lawsuit claims these technology searches of certain individuals aren't for customs and immigration enforcement, but that the CBP and ICE are taking requests from other agencies to search electronic devices to gather information on tax, bankruptcy, environmental and consumer protection investigations.

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said her committee would take a thorough look at the request, but blamed Trump's administration for contributing to the crisis.

"We know the problem we are seeing, we know these are fraudulent family units", an official said on condition of anonymity.

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