America’s southern border is facing a flood of illegal immigrants that the nation has not seen in 20 years, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas acknowledged Tuesday.
In a statement posted on the DHS website, Mayorkas said, “The situation at the southwest border is difficult.”
However, he said, “We are working around the clock to manage it and we will continue to do so. That is our job. We are making progress and we are executing on our plan.”
In his statement, Mayorkas offered two different explanations for the scope of the influx of illegal immigrants.
“We are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years,” he said.
However, Mayorkas, who earlier this month denied there was a “crisis” at the border, continued to downplay the extent of the problem.
“This is not new,” the secretary said. “We have experienced migration surges before — in 2019, 2014, and before then as well. Since April 2020, the number of encounters at the southwest border has been steadily increasing.”
Mayorkas said that single adults “are currently being expelled under the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s] authority to manage the public health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic” and that the “expulsion of single adults does not pose an operational challenge for the Border Patrol.”
“Families apprehended at the southwest border are also currently being expelled under the CDC’s Title 42 authority,” he claimed. However, he said, “Mexico’s limited capacity has strained our resources, including in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas.”
“When Mexico’s capacity is reached, we process the families and place them in immigration proceedings here in the United States. We have partnered with community-based organizations to test the family members and quarantine them as needed under COVID-19 protocols. In some locations, the processing of individuals who are part of a family unit has strained our border resources,” Mayorkas said.
Community activists have noted that the reality is that immigrants are being released into the U.S.
The secretary touched on the flood of unaccompanied children that saw one facility reach 729 percent of capacity by saying that “Border Patrol facilities have become crowded with children and the 72-hour timeframe for the transfer of children from the Border Patrol to HHS is not always met.”
Although Mayorkas said poverty and violence are contributing factors to the crisis, he put most of the blame on the Trump administration.
“The prior administration completely dismantled the asylum system,” he claimed.
‘The prior administration tore down the lawful pathways that had been developed for children to come to the United States in a safe, efficient, and orderly way. It tore down, for example, the Central American Minors program that avoided the need for children to take the dangerous journey to our southwest border,” the secretary said.
Mayorkas also said the Trump administration failed to send enough taxpayer dollars to the countries migrants are fleeing.
“The previous administration also cut foreign aid funding to the Northern Triangle. No longer did we resource efforts in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to tackle the root causes of people fleeing their homes,” he said.
The secretary said that technology will be the solution to the border surge.
“Working with Mexico and international organizations, we built a system in which migrants who were forced to remain in Mexico and denied a chance to seek protection under the previous administration can now use a virtual platform — using their phones — to register. They do not need to take the dangerous journey to the border,” he said.
“Longer term, we are working with Mexico and international organizations to expand our new virtual platform so that unaccompanied children can access it without having to take the dangerous journey to our border,” Mayorkas said.
“As mentioned, we are expanding the Central American Minors program to permit more children to be processed in their home countries and if eligible, brought to the United States in a safe and orderly way,” he said.
The secretary claimed that success will come through an “all-of-government effort to not only address the current situation at our southwest border, but to institute longer-term solutions to irregular migration from countries in our hemisphere that are suffering worsening conditions.”
“This is powerfully exemplified by the President’s goal to invest $4 billion in the Northern Triangle countries to address the root causes of migration,” he said.
Mayorkas said the speed bump the administration is facing will be soon behind it.
“The situation we are currently facing at the southwest border is a difficult one. We are tackling it,” he said.
Did you know that The Western Journal now publishes some content in Spanish as well as English, for international audiences? Click here to read this article on The Western Journal en Español!
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.