Homeland Sec: Our Border Is "Not Open" For Illegal Immigration; "We Will Stem This Tide"


SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON: Our message to those who come here illegal: Our border is not open to illegal migration. And we are taking a number of steps to address it, including turning people around faster. We've already dramatically reduced the turnaround time, the deportation time. For the adults, we're asking this week for a supplement for Congress, from Congress, to bring on additional capacity. And we're cracking down on the smuggling organizations.

DAVID GREGORY: Okay, but--


DAVID GREGORY: But even for the children, we're talking about 50,000 so far this year. Do they need to be deported? Or I've seen some reporting suggesting that more than half of them could end up staying with families in America.

SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON: The law requires that, when DHS identifies somebody as a child, as an unaccompanied child, we turn them over to The Department of Health and Human Services. But there is a deportation proceeding that is commenced against the child. Now, that proceeding can take some time. And so we're looking at options, added flexibility, to deal with the children in particular, but in a humanitarian and fair way.

DAVID GREGORY: Well, I'm sorry, I have to-- I mean it sounds like a very careful response. Are they going to be deported or not? I mean this is the bottom line. I know there's a process they have to go through. Will most of these children that we have seen in this desperate situation stay in America or will they be returned to their homes in Central America?

SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON: There is a deportation proceeding that is commenced against illegal migrants, including children. We are looking at ways to create additional options for dealing with the children in particular, consistent with our laws and our values.

DAVID GREGORY: I'm trying to get answer to, "Will most of them end up staying, in your judgment?"

SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON: I think we need to find more efficient effective ways to turn this tide around, generally. And we've already begun to do that.

DAVID GREGORY: But what does that mean? Are you saying it's impractical to deport all of them who are here now?

SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON: I'm saying that we've already dramatically reduced the turnaround time for the adults. And we're in the process of doing that for the adults with the kids.


SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON: We're looking at additional options for the kids in particular.

DAVID GREGORY: To deport them or to settle them here in America? Is the goal of the administration to settle as many of these kids in America as possible?

SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON: The goal of the administration is to stem the tide and send the message, unequivocally, that--

DAVID GREGORY: What about--


DAVID GREGORY: --who are here now? What is the goal of the administration, to settle them in America or to deport them back to situations that might be even life threatening?

SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON: There is a deportation proceeding pending against everyone who comes into this country illegally and is apprehended at the border.

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