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Senator Lankford Discusses San Ysidro, Border Crossings and Current Pace of Legal Immigration

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WASHINGTON, DC – During an Appropriations Subcommittee on Department of Homeland Security hearing, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today questioned Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen about border crossings and the current pace of legal immigration in America. During the hearing, Secretary Nielsen revealed that approximately 500,000 immigrants enter America legally per day. Lankford’s line of questioning was intended to demonstrate that America’s doors remain open to people of other countries to legally come to America, contribute to our society, and be active members of our communities.


(2:34-3:39) Senator Lankford: Calexico itself is a border crossing port of entry. Give me a ballpark, not just for that facility, but for all of our southern border, the number of legal crossings that happen a day, or a year?

Secretary Nielsen: It’s 360 million a year that DHS encounters. And that’s northern and southern border, but of course, it’s mostly southern.

Lankford: So…. easily estimate, one-way, half-a-million people cross from Mexico into the United States every day?

Nielsen: Yes. In San Ysidro, which has been in the news a lot lately, we process a 100,000 people a day in San Ysidro alone.

Lankford: It is always interesting to me that I get into a conversation with people, and they talk about the only way to get into the country is illegally crossing into the country, that that is the only route, when we have half-a-million people a day legally crossing into the United States, working through the process the right way. So, it’s not as if the only way to be able to cross our southern border is to illegally cross that border.

Nielsen: Correct. And it’s much, much safer to go through the ports of entry for the immigrant.