Apr 29, 2019

McAleenan: Border backlog means migrant families stay in the U.S.

The Southern border. Photo: David Peinado/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Migrants are crossing the Southern border in record numbers because they know they'll be released in the U.S. even if they don’t have a valid asylum claim, acting DHS secretary Kevin McAleenan told "60 Minutes" Sunday.

What he's saying: McAleenan told CBS journalist Sharyn Alfonsi smugglers know families and unaccompanied children would be allowed to stay now, regardless of their status, and they're "advertising that directly in their hometowns." "[O]ur court system is so backlogged, and our laws prevent effective repatriation, even if there's no right to stay in the U.S," he said.

Details: CBS journalist Sharyn Alfonsi traveled to the border with McAleenan to find out how McAleenan how to plans manage the border situation, with 100,000 migrants detained last month alone.

  • Alfonsi asked McAleenan how he could follow President Trump's tough immigration stance while working with work a Congress "that has absolutely no incentive to get anything done in this area before the election." McAleenan said he believes you can be tough and compassionate at the same time.
"I'm gonna do what I've always done –give good law enforcement operational, and policy advice to lawmakers and to policy makers. And that's my intent. I think the ground has shifted in this discussion over the past month."

The big picture: Trump has directed top officials to execute the most aggressive changes in immigration policy since his inauguration, Axios' Jonathan Swan notes. An acceleration in deportations is critical to this new approach. McAleenan will play a key role in this.

The backdrop: McAleenan was previously responsible as commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the enforcement of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance policy," which resulted in the separation of children from parents. The Trump administration said this month it could take 2 years for federal officials to identify the thousands of children most likely separated.

  • McAleenan told Alfonsi he had regrets about the way the policy was carried out.

Go deeper: Trump on his future DHS head Kevin McAleenan: "He's an Obama guy!"

Go deeper

The cost of going after Bloomberg

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Here's the growing dilemma for 2020 Democrats vying for a one-on-one showdown with frontrunner Bernie Sanders: Do they have the guts — and the money — to first stop Mike Bloomberg?

Why it matters: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren all must weigh the costs of punching Bloomberg where he looks most vulnerable: stop-and-frisk, charges of sexism, billionaire entitlement. The more zealous the attacks, the greater the risk he turns his campaign ATM against them.

How Trump’s economy stacks up

Source: "Presidents and US Economy", Trump figures through 2019 courtesy of Alan Blinder; Note: Data shows real GDP and Q1 growth in each term is attributed to the previous president; Chart: Axios Visuals

Average economic growth under President Trump has outpaced the growth under Barack Obama, but not all of his recent predecessors.

Why it matters: GDP is the most comprehensive economic scorecard — and something presidents, especially Trump, use as an example of success. And it's especially relevant since Trump is running for re-election on his economic record.

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health