- The Washington Times - Friday, March 29, 2019

Former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson is breathing a sigh of relief that his time overseeing border security issues is long gone.

President Trump and current DHS chief Kirstjen Nielsen received some emotional support on Friday for the stress involved with securing the U.S. border with Mexico.

Mr. Johnson rejected the idea that Republicans are manufacturing a crisis when it comes to apprehensions of illegal immigrants.

“When I was in office at Kirstjen Nielsen’s job, at her desk, I’d get to work around 6:30 in the morning and there’d be my intelligence book, sitting on my desk,” Mr. Johnson told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” crew on Friday. “The PDB and also the apprehension numbers from the day before. And I’d look at them every morning — and my staff will tell you if it was under 1,000 apprehensions the day before that was a relatively good number. And if it was above 1,000 that was a relatively bad number and I was going to be in a bad mood the whole day.”

Mr. Johnson then pivoted to what he now sees as a giant conundrum.

“On Tuesday there were 4,000 apprehensions,” he said. “I know that a thousand overwhelms the system. I cannot begin to imagine what 4,000 a day looks like, so we are truly in a crisis.”

The Obama-era official’s comments come in conjunction with Mr. Trump’s threat to close the U.S. border with Mexico to trade if Mexican officials assert some semblance of control over the flow of people.

“We’ll keep it closed for a long time,” Mr. Trump said Friday while in Florida. “I’m not playing games. Mexico has to stop it.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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