U.S. Customs & Border Protection Deputy Commissioner Robert Perez classified the situation at the country’s southern border as a “national security crisis” Saturday.
Perez was a member of President Trump’s roundtable discussion on border security Friday and recalled the discussion on “Fox & Friends.”
“We had sheriffs and representatives from Massachusetts, from North Carolina, from all over the country including border communities, talking about how gang violence is permeating their communities and affecting the youth by ways of recruitment and the violence in and of itself,” he said.
Trump said Friday that he was holding off on declaring a national emergency, calling it an “easy solution,” but urged congressional Democrats to vote on a funding bill for border security.
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Perez said that practically, the situation at the border is “unquestionably an unprecedented crisis.”
He added that what makes the situation particularly challenging is the amount of drug trafficking that occurs along the border.
Amid reports of a second migrant caravan preparing to head toward the border, Perez said that his agency will be ready.
“We are monitoring that situation very closely,” he said. “We are collaborating and communicating effectively with our international counterparts to make sure we have the latest information regarding the caravan and whether or not it will actually come to fruition and certainly we’ll be prepared.”
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