Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told lawmakers Wednesday that the journey for migrants traveling from Central America to the U.S.-Mexico border is so fraught with danger that the U.S. is giving pregnancy tests to migrant girls as young as 10.
"Because of the increase in violence, at ICE when we have families with children, we have to give every girl a pregnancy test over 10. This is not a safe journey," she said.
Nielsen was speaking to the House Homeland Security Committee and was informing lawmakers about the dangers that migrants face on the way to the border, a day after figures showed that the number of illegal immigrants coming over the border had spiked dramatically.
“In February, we saw a 30 percent jump over the previous month, with agents apprehending or encountering nearly 75,000 aliens,” she said. “This is an 80 percent increase over the same time last year. And I can report today that CBP is forecasting the problem will get even worse this spring as the weather warms up.”
An ICE official confirmed to Fox News that the policy requires urinalysis testing for all girls and women of reproductive age (from 10-56) entering ICE custody.
Nielsen's testimony comes days after President Trump said in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that he was told by Border Patrol that mothers give their daughters large amounts of birth control pills “because they know their daughters are going to be raped on the way up to our southern border.”
“Think of how evil that is, think of how bad it is,” he said.
A Doctors Without Borders report from 2017 found that nearly one-third of women surveyed entering Mexico had been sexually abused on their journey north, while 68 percent of the migrant and refugee populations as a whole reported being victims of violence.
On Wednesday, Nielsen cast the crisis at the border in grim terms, calling it a “chain of human misery” that is only getting worse.
“We face a crisis -- a real, serious, and sustained crisis at our borders. We have tens of thousands of illegal aliens arriving at our doorstep every month,” she said. “We have drugs, criminals, and violence spilling into our country every week. And we have smugglers and traffickers profiting from human misery every single day by exploiting people who are seeking a better life, deceiving them about our laws, and fueling everything from sexual slavery to child exploitation to the smuggling of illicit goods.”