Former Michelle Obama aide calls for 'honest conversation' about immigration

Krishanti Vignarajah, a former policy aide to former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaAn immigrant to get the job done at Homeland Security Obama: 'Hopeless' to try to sell as many books as Michelle Obama sold record-breaking 1.7 million copies of memoir in first week MORE, is calling on lawmakers to come together across the aisle and have an "honest conversation" about immigration amid an influx of migrants at the southern border.

Vignarajah, currently CEO of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said Tuesday that there is a humanitarian crisis at the border, and emphasized that it has been largely man-made.

“We haven’t been putting the resources into the legal system, knowing that we do have a backlog,” she said referring to the immigration court backlog.

“That’s where I just think we need to have an honest conversation about the bipartisan solutions that we need to put in place,” she added.

The number of pending immigration cases has soared under the Trump administration.

According to the Justice Department, the U.S. immigration court system is facing a backlog of at least 850,000 cases, with some scheduled two to three years in the future.

This backlog comes amid a flow of migrants to the U.S. border and increasing criticism of the Trump administration's actions at the border.

Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kevin McAleenan testified before Congress last month about the latest migration figures from the U.S-Mexico border.

“In the last 40 days, 60,000 children have entered into DHS custody, both unaccompanied and as part of family units," McAleenan told the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time.

As part of Trump's efforts to curb immigration, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security announced a plan on Monday that would effectively end asylum protections for most Central American migrants.

According to the new rule, asylum seekers who pass through another country before reaching the U.S. will be ineligible for asylum when they reach the southern border.

Shortly after the announcement, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) vowed to sue the administration over its move.

"This new rule is patently unlawful and we will sue swiftly,” the organization said in a statement.

—Tess Bonn