The US Homeland Security secretary, Jeh Johnson, promised yesterday to deal with the immigration crisis that has dogged the second term of President Obama and caused angry protests in California last week. Johnson told Meet the Press on NBC that the US border is not open to illegal immigrants, despite the ever-growing number of such immigrants arriving in the country in recent months.
“They have previously gone up, but I believe we will stem the tide,” Johnson insisted. The issue has dominated the great majority of the political agenda over the course of the last week, and in the small Californian town of Murrieta protesters succeeded in turning back three busloads of immigrants from the migrant processing center.
The protests come against a backdrop of the Obama administration attempting to come to an agreement with the Republican party that would see a major crackdown on new undocumented immigrants, although the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already living and working in the United States would be given the chance to get on a pathway to US citizenship. Johnson is adamant that the issue is being tackled by the administration.
“We are cracking down on immigrant smugglers,” he declared, voicing his regret at the hostile reception given to the immigrants being taken to Murrieta. Johnson was unable to say that the new arrivals were going to be immediately deported, particularly children, noting that the process “can take some time”.