DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tours San Ysidro Port of Entry

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Kirstjen M. Nielsen, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, speaks to reporters during a press conference at Borderfield State Park along the United States-Mexico Border fence in San Ysidro, California on November 20, 2018. – A US federal judge temporarily blocked Donald Trump’s administration from denying asylum to people who enter the country illegally, prompting the president to allege Tuesday that the court was biased against him. (SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images)

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SAN DIEGO — U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen traveled to San Diego Tuesday to meet with immigration officials and tour the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

Nielsen thanked employees of U.S. Immigration and Custom 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 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.

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