Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said the surge of undocumented immigrants flooding into the country is "primarily" due to poor conditions in Central America, but the U.S. is gaining ground.
"I believe we will stem this tide," Johnson assured David Gregory on NBC's "Meet the Press." "We have dramatically reduced the turnaround time from 33 to 4 days."
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But a different deportation process is required for children who cross the border alone, and Johnson didn't say whether the children would be ultimately sent out of the country. "We have to do right by the children," he said.
Rumors have also reportedly spread among people in Central America who wish to flee to the U.S. that new immigration policies would allow any child who makes it over the border to stay.
"The deferred action program is for kids who came to this country seven years ago," Johnson clarified, saying he doesn't think a misinterpretation of that policy is at the root of the influx. Instead, the conditions in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are the "push factor" creating the surge, he said.
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First published July 6 2014, 9:55 AM