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The Latest: Nielsen tells Congress border crisis is real

March 6, 2019
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Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, before the House Homeland Security Committee. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, before the House Homeland Security Committee. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testifying in the House (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says the crisis at the southern border is not manufactured.

Nielsen is speaking before the House Homeland Security Committee on border security. She says border agencies are on track to apprehend nearly 1 million people crossing illegally this year at the southern border. Those are levels not seen since the early 2000s.

Last month, there were 76,000 migrants apprehended; most were families from Central America. Many seek asylum and are released into the country to wait out their immigration cases, which can take years.

Nielsen says “no rational person” would design an immigration system like the U.S. has today.

She is expected to face tough questioning from Democrats who have recently taken control of the House.

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10:35 a.m.

A House panel is grilling Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for the first time since Democrats took control of the chamber. The panel’s chairman says oversight of Trump administration’s border policies is long overdue.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson says he wants to use Wednesday’s hearing to give Nielsen the opportunity to start a “serious discussion,” rather than echoing Trump’s claims of a security crisis at the border.

The hearing is one of three at the Capitol on border issues Wednesday. Since Democrats took control of the House, they have prioritized investigating last year’s family separations and have subpoenaed documents related to the policy.

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