Homeland Security Sec. Visits Crisis-Stricken Border Patrol Detention Facilities

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was in Texas Friday to visit Border Patrol detention facilities that have taken a heavy influx of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children crossing the border through Mexico.

In a statement before the trip, a Homeland Security spokesman said that Johnson, along with officials from the White House, Federal Emergency Management Agency and Departments of Defense, Justice and Health and Human Services, were going to “view the ongoing government-wide response to the influx of unaccompanied children across the Southwest border.”

Johnson visited with upper management personnel in the Rio Grande sector, Border Patrol sources told TheBlaze. The region has taken the brunt of the flow of illegals crossing into the country and resources have been stretched so thin that the McAllen, Texas, station meant to hold just 270 people is now holding over 1,000, Border Patrol union representatives told TheBlaze.

FILE - This March 18, 2014 file photo shows Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson speaking in Washington. Reviewing the U.S. deportation policy, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is said to be weighing limiting deportations of immigrants living here illegally but without serious criminal records. The change could shield tens of thousands of immigrants now deported because of repeated violations such as disobeying a deportation order or missing a court date. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File) AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File
This March 18, 2014 file photo shows Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson speaking in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)

More than 35,000 people cross illegally into the United States per month from across the Rio Grande, according to Obama administration figures. Those numbers have increased over the past week, Border Patrol officials from the sector told TheBlaze.

Another detention facility is expected to open in early July to handle the overflow. McAllen Chief Kevin Oaks and Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz met with Johnson at the McAllen station Friday morning, an agent confirmed to TheBlaze.

“Personally, I just think this is a lot of political cover-my-back visit,” a Border Patrol agent in the Rio Grande sector said. “This is a real big mess and they’re scrambling to find a way to fix it.”

Several sources inside the facility said Johnson hugged one of the children while he was in there.

The Obama administration has estimated that more than 60,000 unaccompanied children will be apprehended crossing into the U.S. illegally this year, though the Border Patrol expects the number could be as high as 90,000.

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