Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen at a border security briefing in San Ysidro. Photo courtesy of the secretary’s office.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen traveled to San Diego Tuesday to explain the government’s new refugee policy and tour the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

Nielsen thanked employees of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the services they provide and received a briefing on the federal government’s “migrant-protection protocols,” which went into effect Friday.

Under the new rules, immigrants who apply for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border will no longer be allowed into the United States while they await a hearing date. Instead, they are required to stay in Mexico while immigration officials under the Department of Homeland Security purview review their cases.

According to DHS officials, the new policy will lessen severe workload strains on the U.S. immigration system and reduce abuses of its asylum provisions.

“The (new protocols) will enable DHS to take a huge step forward in bringing order to chaotic migration flows, restoring the rule of law and the integrity of the United States immigration system and allowing DHS to focus resources on providing relief to individuals fleeing persecution, while at the same time holding those accountable who make false asylum claims,” Nielsen said.

The visit was the secretary’s first to the San Diego area since last fall, when she decried illegal border crossings during a Nov. 20 news conference at Border Field State Park.

— City News Service

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