Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D., N.M.) on Sunday denied that there is a national security crisis at the southern border and suggested President Donald Trump is claiming there is a border crisis to distract voters.
During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Lujan defended his previous comment that there was not a crisis at the border and blamed Trump for the problems he admitted are occurring.
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"Six weeks ago you said this wasn't a crisis. Do you still believe that?" guest host Bill Hemmer asked.
"Look, this is not the national security crisis that the president continues to describe. There is a humanitarian crisis, but it's created by President Donald Trump. When you go back to the threats even during the midterms, the president was suggesting that there was an immediate national security crisis and he sent troops to the border just to try to distract the American people with the gains that we were going to see in the midterms," Lujan said.
"So again, I think the president continues to use immigration as a distraction as opposed to trying to work together in a bipartisan basis," Lujan added. "Whether it's immigration reform or other important measures that we could be adopting together."
Hemmer pointed out more than 100,000 illegal immigrants have been stopped at the border in the past month, but Lujan questioned the official numbers.
"There are a number of people who have been turning themselves in to border patrol agents as the law allows in the United States for asylum-seekers. And so when the Department of Homeland Security is reporting these numbers, I don't believe that they are accurately describing the numbers with a number of people that are turning themselves in the versus those that are being apprehended," Lujan said.
Hemmer then played a clip of former president Barack Obama's DHS secretary Jeh Johnson from last week, in which he argues the United States has "a crisis at our southern border."
"Is he wrong?" Hemmer, filling in for Chris Wallace, asked.
"Well, again, I would say there is a humanitarian crisis at the border but one that was created by President Donald Trump with his policies, whether it's his metering initiatives or other policies that have been put in place by [DHS] Secretary [Kirstjen] Nielsen," Lujan responded.
Last month, Johnson said he could "not begin to imagine what 4,000 [apprehensions] a day looks like, so we are truly in a crisis."
Earlier this week, MSNBC host Chuck Todd noted that asylum-seekers from Central and South America are "flooding the system in ways they never did before."