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Homeland Security Chief Grilled on Immigration

  • VOA News

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson while testifying on Capitol Hill, Washington, June 24, 2014.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson while testifying on Capitol Hill, Washington, June 24, 2014.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says he will consider "every conceivable lawful option" to deal with the huge flood of illegal immigrants crossing into the United States from Latin America.

Johnson spelled out the steps his agency is taking to address the problem to a House panel Tuesday.

They include using more resources to track down human traffickers and dismantle their organizations.

Johnson also said the Obama administration has launched public information campaigns in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. He said families are being warned about the dangers of letting children head alone to the U.S, and the spread of wrong information about U.S. immigration laws.

More than 52,000 immigrant children have illegally entered the U.S. from Latin America this fiscal year. Seventy-five percent are from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Many of the illegals are being held in detention centers in the southwest, awaiting processing and possible deportation.

Some in Congress want President Barack Obama to deploy the National Guard along the Mexican broader.

But Johnson called the immigrant influx a humanitarian issue as much as one of border security.

He says the children reach the United States hungry, thirsty, scared, and vulnerable. Johnson says the way these children are treated reflects U.S. laws and values.

Some information for this report comes from AP and AFP.

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