Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Thursday that the country is in “emergency response” mode in dealing with a surge of Central American migrants at America's southern border.
Nielsen, who made her remarks during a stop near the southern border in Yuma, Ariz. Before meeting up with President Trump in California on Friday, said the immigration issue is beyond a “security and a humanitarian crisis” and that DHS and other government officials are working on solutions to simultaneously help the migrants and uphold the nation’s laws.
On Friday, Nielsen will travel to Calexico in California, where she is scheduled to join Trump in visiting the border wall and participate in a roundtable discussion on the border crisis and “the way forward.”
Trump has declared an emergency at the southern border, and in recent days considered closing the border in response to the increase in illegal border crossings -- while calling for Mexico to increase efforts to stop the migration flows. On Thursday, he stepped back from that threat and said he was giving Mexico a "one-year warning" to stop the flows of migration and drugs into the U.S.,
"If we don't make a deal with Congress ... or if Mexico doesn't do what they should be doing...then we're going to close the border, that's going to be it, or we're going to close large sections of the border, maybe not all of it," Trump said at the White House.
Trump’s remarks came as the administration struggles to get a grip on conditions at the southern border, with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) saying last week they were on track to apprehend more than 100,000 border crossers in March.
DHS announced that it is taking a “disaster response” approach to the crisis and that Nielsen has directed agencies to “surge resources and personnel” toward border security and migration management. Nielsen said the administration is treating the immigration crisis as a "Cat 5 hurricane disaster."
Fox News' Adam Shaw and Jake Gibson contributed to this report.