Nielsen is speaking before the House Homeland Security Committee on border security. Slotkin wondered. "What did you do to just scream bloody murder up the chain to the president, to say, I can not represent an agency that is forcing its border patrol to do this?"
"Since late a year ago, we have been seeing 50 to 60,000 migrants arrive at our southern border each month, but in February we saw a 30-percent jump over the previous month with agents apprehending or encountering almost 75,000 aliens", she explained. She called the mass migration of Central American families arriving in cold, remote border outposts a "humanitarian catastrophe".
"The AG memo that was issued directed all US attorneys offices along the southwest border to prosecute all adults who were referred for prosecution, that's what it did", Nielsen managed to say. The panel's chairman says oversight of Trump administration's border policies is long overdue.
"And I've seen the cages!" Democrats were "just choosing to ignore it".
Smuggling cartels are poised to make $2.5 billion off trafficking in illegal immigrants this year, top border officials told Congress on Wednesday, as they pleaded with lawmakers to make the changes needed to discourage families from making the risky journey north.
She is expected to face tough questioning from Democrats who have recently taken control of the House. Of those who were detained last month, about 40,000 were parents and children traveling together, a 67 percent increase from January. And she said the forecast is that the problem will grow worse as weather gets better; traditionally the early spring months see higher illegal crossings. Last month, there were more than 76,000 migrants apprehended - it was more than double the same period a year ago.
The new figures reflect the difficulties Trump has faced as he tries to cut down on illegal immigration, his signature issue.
He said that, although some Senate Republicans oppose the emergency declaration on paper, they all agree that "this is a crisis" and the necessary resources must be allocated.
"In the border facilities that you've been to, they were not made to detain children".
The Senate is expected to vote next week and join the House in rejecting Trump's national emergency declaration aimed at building border walls, but Trump would nearly certainly veto the measure and the issue is likely to be settled in the courts. Photos from inside the Customs and Border Protection centers caused an uproar at the time.