Dem senator presses Pompeo: 'Do you believe our country is full?'

Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallSenate set to bypass Iran fight amid growing tensions EXCLUSIVE: Trump: I do not need congressional approval to strike Iran Overnight Defense: Trump says he doesn't need Congress to approve Iran strikes in interview with The Hill | New sanctions hit Iran's supreme leader | Schumer seeks to delay defense bill amid Iran tensions | Esper's first day as acting Pentagon chief MORE (D-N.M.) on Wednesday questioned Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump says he doesn't need Congress to approve Iran strikes in interview with The Hill | New sanctions hit Iran's supreme leader | Schumer seeks to delay defense bill amid Iran tensions | Esper's first day as acting Pentagon chief Pompeo meets with Saudi crown prince amid tensions with Iran Poll: 24 percent of voters want military action against Iran MORE on whether he believes the country is "full" as President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE has said when advocating his immigration proposals.

“Do you believe our country is ‘full’ as the president has said and that we should not accept any more asylum-seekers or immigrants to the United States?” Udall asked Pompeo during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing focused on the State Department's budget.

Pompeo did not directly answer Udall's question, instead saying that the U.S. is the "most generous nation in the history of civilization.”

ADVERTISEMENT

"As the president has said repeatedly," Pompeo began as Udall pressed him for an answer, "he's talked about lawful immigration, the work that we're doing is along our southern border to prevent people from coming in here unlawfully."

Trump has long railed against illegal immigration and made putting up a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border a top priority. In recent days, however, he also remarked that the country is "full" and cannot take additional people who arrive seeking asylum.

"The system is full, can’t take you any more," Trump said while visiting the border last Friday, adding that for both “illegal immigration” and asylum-seekers, the answer is "I’m sorry, we’re full."

The Trump administration has been grappling with a surge in the number of migrants seeking to cross the border recently, with the number of apprehensions and denials of people attempting to enter the U.S. through the border spiking last month.

Data released Tuesday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection showed that 92,607 people were taken into custody after crossing the border between ports of entry in March, up from 66,884 the previous month.

The figures released this week marked the highest one-month total of apprehensions so far this fiscal year.