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Press Briefing with Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan

Acting Commissioner
Morgan: Good morning. And thank you all for
being here today. As the Commissioner
of Customs and Border Protection, I’m pleased
to announce the official release of CBP’s southwest
border migration statistics for the
month of August. And I’ve said this many
times: Since Congress has failed and continue to
fail to pass meaningful legislation to address the
crisis at the border — which would ultimately
stop children from being used as passports and end
the cartels’ ability to exploit this population,
as well as our laws — the Trump administration
has taken a number of unilateral actions,
unprecedented actions, that we’re going
to discuss today. But, first, let’s discuss
the results of the administration’s
incredible efforts. During the month of
August, CBP apprehended, or deemed inadmissible,
a total of 64,000 individuals. For July, if you recall,
that number was just over 82,000, which represents
a decline of 22 percent. Moreover, the August
numbers reflects — and this is critical — the
August numbers reflects a 56 percent reduction from
the peak in May, which you recall was over
144,000 individuals. And why? Why do we see, in 90 days,
a 56 percent reduction? The President has made it
very clear that he’s going to use every tool
available to him and this administration to address
this unprecedented crisis at the southern border. We have seen historic
agreements and policies put in place by this
administration; an unprecedented network
of initiatives, from regulatory reforms,
policy changes, interior enforcement efforts. The list goes on and on,
what this administration has done that resulted in
this 56 percent decrease. In addition to that, let’s
talk about the government of Mexico. The government of Mexico
has taken meaningful and unprecedented steps to
help curb the flow of illegal immigration
to our border. Now, let’s talk about
a couple of numbers. Mexico has apprehended
approximately 134,000 people so far this
calendar year. Last year — 2018 calendar
year — the entire year of 2018: 83,000. That’s a substantial
increase of apprehensions that the government of
Mexico has executed. In addition, since June,
Mexico has deployed thousands of troops. They’ve created a new
national guard within their country: 10,000
troops to the southern border; 15,000 troops to
the norther border with the United States. Again, unprecedented
support and cooperation with the government
of Mexico. But I’m going to tell you,
and I’m going to go into a little bit more what the
government of Mexico has done, but they
need to do more. And I’ll talk about
that in a second. The international outreach
to the governments of Central American countries
is also beginning to yield effective and positive
results, particularly the efforts to stem the surge
of illegal migrants crossing the southwest
border and to disrupt alien smuggling
organizations. Additionally, the Northern
Triangle countries specifically, along with
the government of Mexico, have really joined the
United States as true partners for
the first time. They really are seeing
this as a true, regional crisis that need
continuing coordination, cooperation, and effort —
that this is not just a United States problem;
that this is a regional crisis that needs regional
support and regional solutions. Third, again — and this
goes to the support that the government of Mexico
is providing — the Migrant Protection
Protocols — or, I’m sure most of you heard,
“MPP” — have also helped. Tens of thousands of
individuals arrive at our southwest border every
month, many of them attempting to
enter illegally. Historically — we’ve
talked about this — these individuals, because of
our broken asylum laws, have been released into
the interior of the United States as they wait for
their asylum hearings. These proceedings
can take years. A host of reasons: a
shortage of immigration judges, backlogs,
the list goes on. Additionally, many never
stick to the process and never continue to go
through its final stages. And even when they receive
a final order of removal, they still remain in the
United States illegally. Those are facts. Under the MPP, aliens who
are entering or seeking asylum and admission to
the United States from Mexico, illegally
or without proper documentation, now may be
returned to Mexico and required to wait outside
the United States for the duration of their
immigration proceedings, which take place in
the United States. The government of Mexico
has agreed to provide them, while they’re
waiting in Mexico, with appropriate humanitarian
protections for the duration of their stay. Here’s a couple of
key points on MPP. It discourages the abuse
and exploitation of U.S. laws and non-meritorious
or false asylum claims. MPP also helps promote a
safer and more orderly process along the
southwest border, freeing up limited resources and
helps free up time of those implementing this
process to devote to those migrants who may
legitimately have a merit-based claim. As of September 1st
of this year, CBP has returned more than 42,000
individuals to Mexico under the MPP. Now, let me emphasize a
point that I made to — a minute ago: Even though
Mexico has stepped up unprecedented — they have
joined the United States, as well as our Northern
Triangle partners, and really stepped up as true
partners and really are really seeing this as a
regional crisis, and they have stepped up in
unprecedented ways — we need them to do more. We need Mexico to do more. We need to make sure that
they’re sustaining the efforts right now; that
the national guard — the 25,000 troops they have
deployed — stay on target, stay on task. We need them to continue
to join and expand the MPP, which is a game
changer right now with respect to
stemming the flow. Mexico needs to continue
to work with our intelligence folks to
use information, share intelligence, and develop
target enforcement actions at strategic locations
in their country. So they are stepping up in
unprecedented ways, but we need them to continue to
sustain that, and we need them
continue to do more. Lastly: deterrence. President Trump is making
it clear that if you come to the United States of
America illegally, you will be removed. If you come here as an
illegal alien in the United States, if you
commit crimes or illegally take American jobs, you
will face consequences. Now, let me talk a minute
about the border wall — just a little topic
that’s been in the news. President Trump has made
it very clear that we will build a wall on the
U.S.-Mexico border. And that, as a CBP
Commissioner, I can tell you that’s exactly what
we’re doing every single day. Together with the United
States Army Corps of Engineers, CBP has
constructed more than 65 miles of new border wall. And it’s more than a
border wall; it’s a border wall system. And now that we have the
Secretary of Defense’s authority to use an
additional $3.6 billion, we’re hoping to build
between 450 to 500 new miles of border by
the end of 2020. But I want to make
sure that I emphasize something, as the CBP
Commissioner: The Border Patrol field leadership
— they want this wall. This is not a vanity
project, as one of the false narratives out there
has been, and I’ve heard it numerous times. This President has
delivered to the experts, to the Border Patrol, to
the leadership — asked what they needed. One of the key things that
they said they needed was the wall. And this is not just a
wall that’s being built right now; it’s
a wall system. It includes access roads,
lighting, technology. And when asked, the
leadership universally has said the wall works. Where it’s been used in
the past, history has shown the numbers go down. Facts and history
show that. And we’ve been saying for
a very long time — the experts have been saying,
when they were asked by the President, this wall
is absolutely needed to help safeguard and secure
our southern border, as part of what we’ve
always been saying: a multi-layered approach
of infrastructure, technology, and personnel. And where that is
implemented — an effective, a strategic
location — it works. The experts say it works. The experts have asked for
this, and this President and this administration
has delivered and they’re going to continue
to deliver. As we stated from the
beginning, that wall is an integral part of that
multi-layer strategy. In closing, President
Trump has used every tool available to address the
humanitarian and security crisis at this border. The entire DHS family,
including USCIS and ICE, are working together with
CBP to secure and restore integrity to the
immigration system. And I, as the
Commissioner, could not be more proud of the men and
women of the Customs and Border Protection who —
they support what they do, and their steadfast
devotion to their mission and the rule of law, and
doing so with humanity and compassion. And let me summarize by
reiterating that we are absolutely encouraged by
the downward trend of apprehension numbers, but
we know these numbers could always
spike upwards. History has shown that. We’ve seen it
happen in the past. We cannot rely solely on
the government of Mexico or our Central American
partners to solve the pull factors created by
our broken system. Unless the laws change,
these numbers will rise again next year, just as
we’ve seen in the past. We will again face the
same kind of crisis we have for way too long. Congress must absolutely
act to pass meaningful legislation to address the
loopholes in our current system if we’re going to
have a durable, lasting solution to this crisis. I’ll take your questions. Yes, sir. The Press: A couple
of quick questions. First, can you address the
complaints of reports and abuse of minors in U.S. custody? And secondly, are we
giving up on — when this was sold — the wall was
sold — we were told that Mexico would pay
for the wall. So is that — Acting
Commissioner Morgan: So let me take your
first question. The Press: Is that gone? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: So, with allegations of abuse —
and we’ve talked about this a lot — of one of
the stints that I did with CBP a few years ago, in
2014 — I actually was the Acting Assistant
Commissioner for, then, Internal Affairs, which is
now OPR — and I can say, from my personal
knowledge, that every single allegation — every
single allegation that is brought forward with any
type of abuse or violation of policy is absolutely
investigated to its fullest. And it’s not just
investigated by CBP; there are multiple layers there. So the DHS IG, they
have a take at it. If it’s appropriate,
DOJ Civil Rights, Civil Liberties section takes
a look at that as well. So I’m confident that
I can say every single allegation is taken
seriously and investigated thoroughly. And when appropriate,
appropriate discipline is utilized. Now, so for your second
question: The wall, as far as who is paying for it
— as the Commissioner of CBP, I don’t care. That’s political. That’s for
politicians to decide. What I can tell you, as
the CBP Commissioner, every single mile of
wall that is built, this country is more safe. Every single mile of the
wall that’s built, it allows the Border Patrol
agents to exponentially increase their capacity
to do their job. That’s what I
can tell you. So — The Press: Question. Acting Commissioner
Morgan: Yes, sir. The Press: Thank you,
Mr. Commissioner. A federal judge in
California has reinstated a ban on the
administration’s policy that would restrict
migrants’ ability to apply for asylum at the
southern border. What is your
reaction to that? And a follow-up, please. Acting Commissioner
Morgan: So, my reaction is, I’m frustrated. The unprecedented judicial
activism that we’ve experienced every
single time that this administration comes up
with what we believe is a legal rule or policy that
we really believe that will address this crisis,
we end up getting enjoined. It’s very, very
frustrating. But, we’re just
going to keep going. We’ll continue to work
within the current legal framework to address this. And here’s what should
be frustrating to the American people: This
President and this administration, we keep
having to go outside the box within the current
legal framework to come up with new initiatives, new
policies, new regulations, because this Congress
won’t do their job. This Congress — I’ve
talked to multiple people on the Hill. I personally told them
exactly that they need to do to pass meaningful
legislation that would end 85 percent of this crisis. I think you could put it
on one piece of paper and do it in a half an hour,
and they refuse to do so. That’s what really should
frustrate the American people. The Press: And
a quick follow. I want to ask you about
using resources like personnel and finances
related to the United States military. Is that making the, sort
of, difference that you thought it would? And are you sensitive to
the pushback that we’ve certainly heard from a
number of people that, by engaging the military in
this particular fight, is perhaps not the best use
of their time and energy? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: So, what I would say is, it would be way
outside my lane to talk about the impacts of the
use of the military or the funding. That really should be left
up to the Secretary of Defense. Here’s what I will say on
this, is that I have full confidence in the
Secretary of Defense that he would not approve
either the utilization of resources or funding that
he think would negatively impact his job to carry
out his national security mission. But what I will say
is, CBP, we’re doing a national security
mission too. The crisis at the
southwest border is not just a humanitarian
crisis; it’s also a national security crisis. So again, every — every
troop that’s assigned there, they are helping
with the national security crisis along the
southwest border. Every mile of wall
is helping as well. So — in the back. The Press: Hi. Alayna from Axios. You talked about needing
Congress needing to do more. What’s the latest
with Jared Kushner’s immigration plan? We’ve been told that he’s
planning to roll it out into a formal bill
in the coming weeks. Acting Commissioner
Morgan: So, I think that’s a great question. Again, that shows this
administration’s effort as Congress continues to fail
to put anything out there. They haven’t even brought
anything to the floor, any meaningful legislation
to the floor. So Mr. Kushner, as well as
a team, they are trying to put together a
comprehensive plan that hopefully gets traction. DHS is working on that. We have people — I
personally am having dialogue and
discussions with that. It would be great to be
able to put something together that’s meaningful
that we could get bipartisan support to
actually end this crisis. I applaud his efforts. Absolutely. Yes, sir. The Press: Thank you, sir. Two questions. One — Acting Commissioner
Morgan: I’ve been told I can only give
people one question. The Press: Well, one
and a half then, sir. Acting Commissioner
Morgan: (Laughs.) Okay. The Press: The half a
question, you attribute the drop in apprehensions
to the President’s policies, but isn’t
it also true that apprehensions always drop
this period of the year during the heat? And also, I — Acting
Commissioner Morgan: Well, let me take that question. So I think that’s a good
question, because that’s one of the false
narratives out there. So, the past five years,
due to seasonal reasons, we’ve seen, on average,
those numbers drop about 8 percent. So if you look from, you
know, June to July, we saw those numbers drop
by 40 percent. So it’s just not
supported by the facts. And now, generally, from
July to August — last year, from July to August,
as an example, the numbers actually went
up 16 percent. This is the season when
they start going up. And what I just said,
for this year, down 23 percent. Absolutely, it’s what
this President and this administration is doing. It has nothing to do
with seasonal trends. The Press: And the second
question: You just now complained about judicial
activism and having policies enjoined
by the courts. Isn’t it also just as
possible that the policies that are being promulgated
don’t comply with the law? I mean, isn’t that judge’s
job to decide what’s legal and what’s not? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: The judge’s job is to interpret law,
not make law. And that’s what I think
judicial activism means. That’s a big thing
in this country. I believe it’s a big
problem in this country. We can disagree on legal premises that have that argument. That’s what courts are
there for: to interpret the law, not make the law. And judicial activists’
decisions like this, I think they’re trying
to make law instead of interpret that. So — yes, ma’am. The Press: Thank
you, Commissioner. We know that the primary
drivers of the border crisis are Central
American families. How specifically has the
administration’s policies affected that demographic? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: So, that’s great. So, at the height, in May,
remember when we saw about 144,000 — just
staggering, catastrophic numbers — we were ranging
between 65 to 70 percent were families or
unaccompanied minors. And, remember, because
of our broken laws, that meant — those 65 to 75
percent, where they were being released into the
interior of the United States never to be
heard from again. Right now, as these
numbers not only continue to drastically decline —
you know, 57 percent in 90 days — so has
that demographic. This month, that
demographic fell from 65 to 75 — I mean, 70
percent to 55 percent. The Press: And a second
question if I may. I understand that the
administration says that there have been 65 miles
of new border wall built, but that’s in areas where
there have been vehicular barriers or smaller, more
porous border systems. When can we expect the
administration to break ground on border wall
where there hasn’t previously been
any barrier? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: So I’m really glad you asked that question. So — because again, I
think there’s a false narrative out there that
goes, “No new wall has been built.” I’m here
to tell you, as the Commissioner of CBP,
that’s just a lie. Every mile of wall that’s
being built, it is a new mile of wall. And again, I’ll reiterate:
It’s not just a wall; it’s a wall system. Integrated lighting,
integrating technology, and access road. If you go to those areas
where there was pedestrian barriers or their old
landing mat, where they can just knock it over the
car, or cut a hole in it in seconds — where new
wall was going in, that’s exactly what it is. And if you go out there
and you ask the agents, they’ll tell you
that’s new wall. The second part of the
question is, is that I think is a fair way to
categorize this, is where we’re building
new linear miles. So it’s not just where
there was some physical barrier already there,
but new linear miles. So I told you we’re
anticipating, by 2020, about 450 to 500 miles. Right now, we have current
projects that are slated in a couple areas,
including RGV, which will easily reach 100 new
miles of linear wall. So — The Press: And when
can we expect that — Acting Commissioner
Morgan: Sorry, I already gave you two. So — yes, ma’am. The Press: Is the
administration considering offering TPS to the
people of the Bahamas? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: Yeah. So — yes. And I think that’s a good
question right now, and there’s a little bit of
a confusion out there. This is off the
immigration, the southwest border, but Bahamas. And I think it’s clear:
CBP is an integral part of DHS National
Response Framework. Part of that is, is when
people are affected by an area or a crisis like
this, like the hurricane, is how can we get them
to the United States, if that’s the best decision. CBP, along with an entire
United States government effort to support the
government of the Bahamas, is absolutely, first and
foremost, life and safety of individuals. So we are — we’ve
deployed — CBP — I’ve authorized a deployment
of an enormous amount of resources to southern
Florida to make sure that we can effectively receive
people that are coming in from the Bahamas. Already, we’ve received
two cruise ships, thousands of folks
that we have processed. Flights are coming
in constantly. We’ve deployed additional
folks out to even the small airports. We’re reaching out to the
aviation companies and corporations
to coordinate. We’re coordinating with
the cruise ships every single day to make sure we
can do that effectively and in a timely process. But I want to be very
clear, though — because I’ve already seen some
false narrative out there — is: That doesn’t mean
that we do this with a blind eye. We still have to balance
the humanitarian need and assistance of those that
need it versus the safety of this country. So we still will go
through the process, but we’re expediting that
process, putting more resources down there. We’re waiving
the normal fees. I could go on and on with
what we’re doing to try to expedite the process. But keep in mind there
are still people that are inadmissible to
this country. There are still people
coming here that could have criminal convictions. We are going to process
them and handle them normally to make sure
this country is safe. The Press: You said
“ma’am.” Did you say “ma’am”? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: Yep, in the back, please. The Press: Thank you. Just a quick question
about Mexico’s role here. Have there been any
concessions or pledges by the White House, financial
or otherwise, to get them to continue their support? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: So I think that’s a good question. The dialogue continues. The Vice President is
going to meet with senior officials from the
government of Mexico this week to have that exact
dialogue, to talk through about what has been done,
what still needs to be done, as we
continue to go. So those negotiations
are ongoing. The Press: Are you going
to be part of the meeting from Mexico with the VP? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: If I’m asked, I will. Yes, sir. The Press: You said that
every mile of wall makes the country safer. And you said, by the end
of next year, you’re expecting 450 to
500 miles of wall. The Washington Post
has reported that the President would like the
wall to be painted black and that, by doing that,
the extra costs would actually shorten the wall
that you’re hoping to build by four miles. Have you objected to
this to the President? Is the President, with
this directive, making the country less safe? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: No. So I think there’s a
lot that goes into it. And that’s why I always
say — I give an approximate, like
450 to 500 miles. Because there’s a lot of
factors that go into that. I’m on constant
communication with the general — General
Semonite — that’s leading the Army Corps of
Engineers efforts. And there’s a lot of
factors that go in there: the terrain; what they hit
when they start digging. You know, the
factors go on and on. I think it’s common sense. And so there are a lot of
factors that go into that, to include adding
anti-climbing features to the wall as well. Painting is one of those. Sure, there will be a cost
associated to that, and that may impact the
number of miles. But again, the operational
impact it will get through painting. The Press: (Inaudible)? Or you support painting
the wall, and that would shorten the amount
of miles built? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: I think we need to strike a balance between
making sure that the miles we build is the most
effective wall system we build with respect to
also the number of miles. I think it’s a balance we
need to strike, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. Yes, ma’am. The Press: Sir, yes. Can you detail how long
in the process of the Bahamian persons who
are leaving because of humanitarian crisis, how
long are they allowed to stay? Can you give us a little
bit more detail on that; get into the
weeds on that? And also, where
specifically is this new area of wall, the 65-mile
stretch of wall, being built? Where specifically
is that? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: So, two questions. So, with respect to the
Bahamians coming in, it really is dependent on the
level of reconstruction and recovery, right? So we’ll make that
determination as that goes on. Again, our first and
foremost concern — The Press: Would
that be years? Would it be months? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: Again, it depends on how long it takes them
to recover and rebuild. Again, the United States
government, including CBP, our first concern is the
safety and wellbeing of those. So, now, we would not
support returning people to a place where it’s
not safe for them to be. With respect to the wall,
again, it’s being built in strategic locations along
the southwest border: Yuma, California,
RGV, Laredo. I mean, the list goes on. And we continually work
with the Army Corps of Engineers to make sure
that we’re striking that balance of our strategic
needs and locations and where we can get the most
mileage out of what we have. Yes, sir. The Press: Commissioner,
in July, a border official testified before Congress
that HIV status is being used to justify family
separation at the border, which the CBP later
clarified to say it occurs on a case-by-case basis. Is that policy
still ongoing? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: Yeah, so what the policy is, is that we’re
going to look at, first and foremost, the health,
safety, and wellbeing of the child. And we will use a totality
of circumstances to make that decision to determine
any type of separation. And that’s our policy. It has been and it
continues to be. The Press: Commissioner,
specifically on the Bahamas, there was an
incident where about 100 people fleeing the Bahamas
got into a ferry and reportedly were kicked off
the ferry, (inaudible) they didn’t have the
proper documentation. The CBP has gotten a lot
of criticism over that because they didn’t have
— allegedly, they’re supposed to have
these visas. I just wanted to get your
reaction on that, sir. And I do have a follow-up
question on a different topic. Acting Commissioner
Morgan: So what I would say about the Bahamas is
that you can imagine any type of natural disaster
like this, where you have this huge disaster, a lot
of resources going on and responding, there’s going
to be some confusion. And so what I will say
is, that’s what it was. So, CBP, we’re not working
and telling a cruise line that you cannot allow
anyone without documents. That’s just not
being done, okay? So there’s just some
confusion there. We will accept anyone on
humanitarian reasons that needs to come here. We’re going to process
them expeditedly. Again, though, if they are
deemed to be inadmissible — for example, if they
have a long criminal history and they’ve been
denied entry in the United States previously, we’re
not going to allow that person into the
country to roam freely. We’re going to process
them like we normally would. So — yes, ma’am. The Press: Commissioner,
you said that if the Flores Agreement is
revoked, that you think that families will be kept
between 50 to 60 days and that it won’t
be indefinite. Those were your words. Why should people
trust that the Trump administration won’t
keep kids and families indefinitely, given the
reports of children being held in dangerous
conditions? Why should people trust
this administration? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: So, first of all, I would probably object
to the term that they’re being in held in
“dangerous conditions.” We would need to do a little
bit more deeper dive exactly what you
mean in that. But here’s two things
that I would say. One is, history
shows that. History shows — again,
we’ve talked about this before, about a
non-detained docket, which means those individuals
that are released into the United States, its backlog
takes years, versus a detained docket. History shows that, under
a detained docket, it takes about 40 to 60
days to get through that process. And then, if you think of
it from a common-sense perspective, is: Why would
we want to drag that process out? It’s more costly
to the taxpayers. It ties up resources from
all the agencies that could be doing more law
enforcement action to safeguard this country. It serves nobody purpose
to make sure and drag it out, to include the
immigrants that are here, both on — if you’re here
and your claim is found to be false or fraudulent,
let’s determine that quickly and return you
to your home country. More importantly is, is if
your claim is found to be merit — based on merit,
then let’s get that process quickly so you
can’t be returned, and released in the
United States. Yes, sir. The Press: Can you give us
any indication to whether there are talks ongoing
for a safe third country agreement with other
countries that the U.S. (inaudible)? Before, it was already
announced (inaudible) Guatemala. Acting Commissioner
Morgan: Yeah, so I think words matter, so I want to
stay away from — I think that’s a colloquialism
that we use in the United States, “safe third
country.” But, yeah, so we are reaching across the
aisle, just as we did with the government of
Guatemala, to come up with a cooperative agreement
to return individuals to Guatemala who had
transitioned through other countries. We are continuing to have
those similar discussions for cooperative agreements
with other countries as well. The Press: Mexico
specifically, sir? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: Absolutely. Absolutely. We’re continuing — The
Press: Do you expect that will happen? Acting Commissioner Morgan:
I’m not going to speculate. We’re still in
negotiations. It’s still a
little bit early. I’ll leave that up to
maybe the Vice President in his discussion
this week. But what I can tell you —
think about this from a pragmatic standpoint: If
somebody is fleeing their country because they
feel that they’re being persecuted for a list of
legitimate reasons, it really is in their best
interest to apply for asylum to the first
country that they have entered outside of the
country that they are being persecuted. That’s our design. We believe it’s in their
best interest as well. The Press: Thank you, sir. With the numbers going
down, is there a point at which they’d be down far
enough that the national emergency or crisis at
the border will be over? And in a related question,
they went up under Kevin McAleenan, who is now the
Acting DHS Secretary. Why did he get promoted
rather than fired? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: So let me take the second one first. That’s way out of my
lane or my pay grade. So the — what was the
first question again? The Press: When will the
numbers go down far enough that the
emergency is over? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: Right. So what I would say
is — that’s tricky. So I’ve been asked
that a couple of times. And, you know, trying
to just be honest and transparent with that. From CBP, hey, look, if
I could see daily apps around 500 a day, that’s
manageable, I think. Would I say that that’s
the magic number? The magic number
is zero, right? But we have to
be realistic. But even saying 500,
saying a specific number, it’s not really that easy
because it’s not just about the numbers, it’s
also the demographics. Now, one thing we’ve
agreed upon — and it’s gets back to your
question, ma’am, about dangerous conditions —
here’s one thing we agree on: We’ve always said,
from day one, that children — children
should not be in Border Patrol facilities that
were designed for single adults. We’ve said that
to begin with. So, when we’re talking
about numbers, if the majority of those numbers
— even 500 — are kids, you know what? No. I would not say that
that’s manageable, because we still don’t have the
proper conditions in Border Patrol — the
current, hard structures — to do that. We’re still going to have
to maintain soft-sided facilities to provide the
conditions that we are providing now, which
is what we should be. Yes, ma’am. The Press: Thank you. I want to clear up —
or at least, from my understanding, clarify
something you said to one of my colleagues here who
asked about TPS status being granted
to Bahamians. You said yes. Can you — are we
specifically talking about all Bahamians who have
been affected by Dorian who will be
granted TPS status? Or are you talking about
simply expedited entry to the U.S. for those who qualify? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: Right now, we’re working through that. And thanks for
following up. So we — there hasn’t been
any formal grant of TPS. The Press: Have you had
that conversation with President Trump or with
other officials in this administration? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: Not yet. The Press: Would
you plan to? Do you think you will? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: I think so. I think that would be
appropriate to have that circumstance, especially
depending — I mean, history shows we’ve done
that before, right? And so if the history
shows that it’s taken, you know, a lengthy time to
get the Bahamas back to where these people can
return to, I’m sure that that will be a discussion
we’ll be having. Yes, ma’am. The Press: Thank you,
Commissioner Morgan. So, just following up on
this dangerous condition point, there are
increasing reports of extortion and also
kidnappings of MPP returnees. Is your agency
tracking this trend? And are you doing anything
to lessen the risk of migrants? And then, a follow-up
to that — Acting Commissioner Morgan: So
you’re talking about those that are waiting in
Mexico under MPP? The Press: Returning
to Mex- — yes. Acting Commissioner
Morgan: Yeah. So let me address that. And I think
that’s important. So, I’ve read
the same reports. I’ve heard the same
anecdotal allegations. To this date, Mexico has
provided nothing to the United States
corroborating or verifying those allegations. But here’s what I would
say: Is the mere fact that those allegations are
here, this should really drive us to want to have
intellectually honest conversations about the
core drivers of this crisis. What is at the core,
driving this crisis? And we know that, but
we’re not talking about it enough. The cartels, they start
exploiting and abusing these vulnerable — this
vulnerable population before they leave
their home country. They’re selling
the bill of goods. They’re promising, “Hey,
you mortgage your home, you give us thousands of
dollars, and we’re going to take you on this
dangerous trek through multiple countries because
we’re going to promise you, because of America’s
broken laws, you’re going to be allowed in this
country.” The cartels are exploiting them from day
one, taking their money. We’ve heard from
independent sources that, on this dangerous trek, up
to 33 percent are abused. Thirty-three percent. And once they get into
the United States, that exploitation
doesn’t start. They have to continue to
extort them to pay off the bill for taking them
through, whether it’s sex slavery, whatever that is. So, the exploitation, it
continues from day one. That’s the core issue. That’s what we
want to stop. And MPP is
doing just that. MPP — The Press: And
— Acting Commissioner Morgan: Let me finish
this; this is important. MPP — one of the most
significant thing that MPP is doing is, they’re
telling the cartels and this vulnerable population
the game has changed. If you come here, even
with a kid — it used to be, you come here with
a kid, that was your passport into the
United States. MPP is saying,
“That’s done. That’s a lie now. You can’t. You’re not going to be
allowed into this country even if you bring a kid.”
So don’t mortgage your home. Don’t pay the cartels. Don’t risk your life. Don’t risk the life
of your family. When you get in here,
don’t allow yourself to continue to get exploited. That’s what MPP is doing. The Press: Commissioner
Morgan, let me ask you about — the Office of
Special Counsel recently found CBP in violation of
DNA collection laws for individuals in their
custody — in your custody. When will you start
complying with these DNA collection laws? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: So, remember, and I — so, I’m glad you
asked this question, because I want to
clarify one of the false narratives out there that
DHS — because this really is a DHS issue — has
violated some law by not doing this. And that’s just
factually inaccurate. Is that, previously — The
Press: You are complying? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: No, let me finish. I’ll explain why we’re
not violating the law. Because, under the
Department of Justice, the Attorney General — The
Press: I just want to know if you’re complying. That’s all. Acting Commissioner
Morgan: — the Attorney General — I’m answering
your question, if you’ll allow me too, all right? So, the Attorney General
has stipulated there’s a waiver, and he’s allowed
the Secretary of DHS to decide whether they want
to apply that waiver. And this was done
under former Secretary Napolitano for a whole
host of what I think are legitimate operational
concerns and budgetary issues of why they
granted that waiver. So, now — so, I just want
to make sure, there’s no violation of law. Now, let’s
fast-forward to today. I believe, personally,
that we need to take a look at this and we need
to figure out a meaningful and thoughtful way of
where we can begin to look at where it’s appropriate
to start applying with CODIS. And we are currently under
discussions with DHS and the Department of Justice
to come up with a meaningful, thoughtful
strategy to begin that. The Press: So, what is the
timeframe — what is the timeframe for you
complying with it, then? What’s the timeframe
for complying with it? Mr. Commissioner, what’s
the timeframe for complying? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: Go ahead. The Press: Why can’t you
just answer that simple question? What’s the timeframe
for complying with it? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: So, I don’t have a timeframe, because we need
to make sure — The Press: Months? Years? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: It would be nice for you to let me actually
answer your question without you
interrupting me. The Press: You didn’t
answer (inaudible). Acting Commissioner
Morgan: So — so I’m trying to answer a
question right now, okay? The Press: Thank you. Acting Commissioner
Morgan: So — so, we don’t have a time because
there’s a lot that goes into that. I mean, it’s not it’s not
just as simple as one day we say, “Okay, start
sending out the kits and do it.” It’s
not that simple. It’s very complicated. And this is a DHS issue,
and the force — in the continuum of the
immigration process, there’s multiple agencies
that are involved. We need to figure out
where in that continuum would be the most
appropriate. We got to talk about
budgetary issues. We got to talk about the
impact to operations. We have to coordinate with
the unions with respect to that. It’s very complicated. And I answered your
question, is that we’re going to do this in a very
meaningful, thoughtful way. And when we’re ready
to actually execute it effectively, then that’s
when we’ll do it. Yes, sir. The Press: Senators Marco
Rubio and Rick Scott have recently said that the
policy, with respect to the Bahamas, is confusing. I’m not entirely sure,
with respect to what you’ve said so far, is
going to clarify that confusion. If you’re a Bahamian, if
you’re trying to enter the country, you’re trying to
evacuate, what is the visa requirement? You mentioned that there
are fees that are going to be waived. Can you be specific? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: Yeah. So, I thought I
addressed that. So, this is a humanitarian
mission, right? With respect to this. So, if your life is in
jeopardy — you’re in the Bahamas, and you want to
get to the United States — you’re going to be
allowed to come to the United States, right? Whether you have travel
documents or not. We’ve already allowed U.S. cits and non-U.S. cits in. We’ve already processed
people that have travel documents and don’t
have travel documents. And we’re trying to
do that in the most expeditious way we can to
support the humanitarian mission. But, again, as I stated
before, we’re still going to go through the process. And if you looked at the
time that a process — I think the first ship that
came in had over 1,400 individuals — we did that
ship in a couple hours. Right? It was just amazing work
that the folks at CBP did. But we’re still
going to do our job. We still need
to process you. We still need to vet them
to make sure that we’re not letting dangerous
people in, taking advantage of this. And I’ll give you another
example is: We’ve had some individuals that brought
children with them from the Bahamas, who lost
their mom and dad. So we need to make sure
that — were they — was there any nefarious
activity involved, or were they just doing it out of
humanitarian reasons to pick the kid? And, so far, that’s
what we’ve seen. But we still have
to vet that out. So — Yes, ma’am,
in the back. The Press: Thank you,
Commissioner Morgan. You’re touting the
successes of the administration’s policy
changes, regulation, but also the help from Mexico,
yet you also said you expect numbers to go up
next year if Congress doesn’t act. Do you expect Mexico’s
support to wane in 2020 or people to find workarounds
for the new policies and rules? Why do you expect it to go
up since you’ve seen so much success in the
last few months? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: So that’s a great question. So, I am skeptical. Again, make no mistake,
Mexico has stepped up in an unprecedented way to be
partners and really see this as a regional crisis. But as I said, we
need them to do more. And there are specific
targeted areas that we continue to talk to that
they need to do more. I am concerned whether
the government of Mexico, including our partners
in the Northern Triangle countries, are going to be
able to sustain the level of commitment they have. But in addition to that,
as a country, we cannot rely on other countries,
no matter how great their support is, to
fix our laws. If you think about it, it
just can’t be sustainable. So that’s why I stick
to that, that we need Congress to act. They know what to do. And they have failed the
American people by not doing so. Yes, sir. The Press: Yeah. So just to clarify, you
said you’re going to vet the Bahamians coming in. Anyone who’s deemed a
threat, are they going to just be dropped back off
in the Bahamas and left to fend for themselves? What’s going to
happen with them? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: No, of course not. And that’s why I go with
our normal procedures. So when we see somebody —
normally, even outside the humanitarian process —
we will bring them in. Again, we have that
immigration continuum with multiple agencies
involved. They can come in. They can — you know,
they can claim fear. They can — the
normal process. Everything will be
available to them. If we have someone that we
deem is inadmissible that came from the Bahamas,
obviously we’re not going to return them
because it’s unsafe. But, for us, CBP, we will
turn them over to ICE ERO who will take them
and then detain them appropriately and continue
out with the procedure. Okay. One more question. Gentleman in the back. The Press: Thank you. You just mentioned
the agreement this administration reached
with the government of Guatemala. The President-Elect of
Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei, was here last
week, questioning this agreement and saying
that he hasn’t seen the documents yet. That’s one question. What do you think
about this agreement? Is it actually function
— like a functional agreement? And also, what other
countries in Central — are you talking to you,
are you having talks, to reach agreement? Acting Commissioner
Morgan: So, good question. So I’m glad you asked them for
a moment of clarification. So we have the agreement
ready to go, but it has not been ratified by the
government of Guatemala, so you’re correct on that. Now, we hope it will be
because I think it will be significant. And then, we’re continuing
to talk to not only the Northern Triangle
countries — you know, obviously, Guatemala,
Honduras, El Salvador — but also Panama. You know, any country that
really can step up and is really a part of this
immigration crisis that really is a
regional issue. So, thank you.


  1. Timemachine Eddie Author

    God damn the disrespectful fake news media. America Loves President Trump the Greatest President in American History. The democrats well God damn all of them for their crimes against America and all of mankind. May you rot in Hell with you moslum terrorist friends in the west bank.

  2. JIB23 Author

    Press briefing every 6 months and they say this is a good administration yeah right you would never get me to believe in that. I rather believe windmill cause cancer. How stupid and ignorant. Take those markers and shove em back in the drawer

  3. T. M Author

    @34:37 the dna tests of the children's parents are exposing child sex handlers. The children then get taken and put into facilities with class rooms, bed rooms, nurse offices, and playstation 4s; Melania Trump personally inspects the facilities to make sure they are up to code and Melania is known to have very high standards. Let that all soak in.

  4. Kyle Brock Author

    We really need to question who's team Donnie is on:

  5. hecke1959 Author

    Sanctuary cities need go democrats use it to get more seats in Washington dc and to get more money for their city. All it does is take away from American because those cities get all the money. Look at the States that don't get money like Mississippi and Arkansas. This is what our forefathers was against one state bullying other States, who is always suing the federal government California. We don't have a problem with legal immigration, it illegal immigration we do. Because when you use the door instead of the widow, you will keep criminals from getting in.

  6. U.P. dan Author

    The Weimar Republic, formally known as Germany, will be borrowing a page from the Pentagon accounting staff and setting up a secret borrowing branch of government , so they don't have to count anymore instead of limiting their national debt. Seems all those illegals are not cost effective.

  7. C Jae Author

    I'm pretty those DNA laws apply to Americans not people trying to enter the country illegally. Ya know I don't recall anyone in Texas or Florida trying to get to the Bahamas or any other country last year during hurricane season.

  8. Sue Pulley Author


  9. Optimal81 Author

    One idiot activist judge on the far left, illiberal 9th circuit court of appeals supersedes the will of 62 million voters today with his nationwide injunction on the new asylum rules. These nation wide injunctions are unconstitutional. Nobody elected this judge. Please fix this AG Barr.

  10. D H Author

    "stepped up unprecedented stepped up unprecedented stepped up unprecedented stepped up unprecedented stepped up unprecedented stepped up unprecedented stepped up unprecedented stepped up unprecedented stepped up unprecedented stepped up unprecedented stepped up unprecedented stepped up unprecedented stepped up unprecedented " zzz zZZzzZz zzzZ

  11. C Jae Author

    These REPORTERS are a bunch of lazy deadbeat hacks. How many of these SO CALLED JOURNALISTS who are saying 'WE'VE HEARD or IT'S BEEN SAID" have actually investigated what they've heard or what's been said. I'll tell you, NONE OF THEM. They shouldn't get a press pass if they don't qualify within the criteria of a journalist .

  12. T2AC L Author

    Thank you !! You all are working incredibly hard to protect everyone & it’s appreciated more than words can express. Great work, speech, & explanation, Commissioner Morgan. Wish the News would explain this to the populous IN FULL so they can understand the serious dangers/complexity to this crisis. This SERIOUS long-standing situation (many years) not only effects OUR Country, but also hurts innocent migrants/children…through this incredible multifaceted approach, & working with other countries, migrants will not have to seek refuge, & leave their home(& fall victim to Cartels); dangerous individuals will stop pouring in; our Sovereignty will be secured; & we will be safe/protected. Thank you President Trump, Admin, officers, mil, & agents. Members of Congress spreading false info, blocking efforts, & not appropriately addressing/closing loopholes, need to remember their Oath of Office….endangering our Nat Sec, our Sovereignty, & the innocent is unconscionable.

  13. Pils Nrimgaard Author

    65 miles of border wall when we need 1,870 miles completed. Its a start, but certainly not even close to complete thanks to RINO's and The demoKKKrats.

  14. L Howry Author

    YOU SAW A REDUCTION BECAUSE THERE IS ONE THIS TIME OF YEAR EVERY SINGLE YEAR. THE HIGH TEMPERATURES IS WHY. YOU LIAR. Stop locking up families! America does not support these policies. Quit lying to the American people.

  15. Daniel Rodriguez Author

    Mexico will never be a third secure country. Its congress prohibit that move. It is easy to finish the illigal inmigration; end up the refugee and assylum lows. Dont blame other countries for your assylum and refugees laws. Once again, if Mexico accept to be the third safe country, Washington will need to give up something else to Mexico.

  16. Quetzal Coaltl Author

    Listen to this fuck mouth? Your criminal Red, White and Blue murdered over 110 million Native Americans and Mexicans, stole their land where your criminal land now exists; you imposed Mexicans the Bucareli Treaty, the illegal invasion to Mexican soil to hunt Zapata and Pancho Villa, the stealing of Texas, California, New Mexico, Phoenix, Nevada, etc. from Mexico and endless crimes. And you want more from us (Mexico) you peace of shits???? What do you want from us? You want us to bend over so you can fuck us in the ass to satisfy your sick mentality??? And aslo you fucken morons!!! So educated from the so called best US Schools and you still do not get it that America is not a country, it is the name of the Continent where starts in Canada and ends in Patagonia Argentina. It is like calling England of Europe, China of Asia, South Africa of Africa….. You are United Statesians, NOT! Americans, you must have Native American blood to be considered Americans. And I agree with the wall!!! Make it so big, so wide, around the land you stole from us and close it from all angles including the sky so we do not have to deal nor see your racist hypocrite ass ever again.

  17. Rosa Frausto Author

    The reporter has to remember that the President has for years been in the business of building, so if he has been convinced that painting the wall black is functional, it is because it works! He cannot be snowed in the area of building, & for that matter, in many other areas, as he is a graduate of one of the most prestigious business schools (which is not true of all president).

  18. Rosa Frausto Author

    What a meaningful press conference! The reporters, if listening, & I learned a lot. Even, the MSM's especial needs reporters were treated with dignity. Brabo! It is refreshing to learn so much (due to the Commissioner's high capabilities) in the midst of attempted adversity caused by the "especial needs" people in the room who choose not to steer themselves away from being "stuck on stupid."

  19. Sevan Kay Author

    Trump 2020 he knows exactly what he is doing
    The first third term president
    This informational podcast will explain everything

  20. Elthadiya Author

    Provide a percentage of the "build the wall money" to Fisher Industries.
    Fisher industries will build a mile a day, for a margin of the cost, anywhere.
    Get it done!

  21. Kami Author

    the press are nothing but Thugs.. they ask questions. dont get the answers they WANT and keep on yelling out questions instead of letting the guy answer.

  22. Gladys Mohr Author

    This man is exactly what represents the people of America. The American Citizens need to be protected from the criminals and the drugs that are pouring in. KAG

  23. Gypsynurse Cathy Author

    The US is not going to take people who don't meet the criteria, they still need to be vetted….waiving fees is good but no criminals, no people who can't work or support their families….still need major vetting because they are coming from high child trafficking and crime areas! A lot were Haitian refugees in the first place!

  24. ricardo alvee Author

    Sec of veterans Affairs Acting!
    Sec of defense Acting
    Everyone is Acting while
    Donald Trump sends DEAR KING letters to the veterans Affairs department for our healthcare 🤡🏌️‍♂️⛳

  25. 37375 Author

    It’s this Racist white beach sheriff and his insubordinates that want to Rule over the USS America. They want to play Cowboys and Indians with the World ! It’s the toy story movie but woodie is a CRAZY man that wants to WAGE WAR on Noah’s Arc.

  26. Sunny Olsen Author

    God bless these men who are protecting our sovereignty by protecting our borders from mass invasion of non-Americans. These illegals usually have very different culture, education, religion and personal beliefs than self-reliant Americans who make America free and strong.

  27. mOejOe33 Author

    Make no mistake, these people have different morals from the average American.
    Decent people follow rules and go through the proper procedures. Criminals don't
    Illegal immigration has been ignored for several decades. More needs to be done to save the American way of life.

  28. jeffdahlgren Author

    The why in reduced numbers has nothing to do with actual enforcement and is real simple, the Southern Border is is brutally hot and deadly the last 90 days and the historic numbers always drop each summer. The numbers will return to overwhelming in another 60 again

  29. Christopher Robin Garrish Author

    Crisis at the border? Your Chief Executive is an insane psychopath. Start cleaning toilets at home folks, the rest of the world no longer listens to American fascists.

  30. lovelylee48 Author

    War on drugs, sextrafficking, guns smuggling, childbuse by cartels, IllegalsAliens coming here illegals are finally getting check and under control.Thank you PresidentTrump. We are at war with the criminalorganization cartels and Potus45 will win. Thanks Mexico keep helping we need you to do more stay on target never back down from your dirty Criminals cartels. Schooling the Fakenewsmedia

  31. Mario Gutierrez Author

    Pompeo: The Israel regime’s lack of full cooperation with @iaeaorg raises questions about possible undeclared nuclear material or activities

  32. Liz Luna Author

    With all my respect, but why just the people from the frontier have to wait their immigration interviews outside the country?🤔what happened with many tourist are staying out permission, broking the immigration law?🤔..they are suppose to wait their immigration interviews outside the country not fair just people from the frontier have to wait outside the country..😕..and what happened with the immigration pardons too?..some immigrations fraud coming from people who are doing the immigration pardons and nobody say nothing😞..this is just my opinion,with all my respect to everybody because not everybody is equal but someone do that..god bless!

  33. Kelhori Elhori Author



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