Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas downplayed the situation at the border during a press conference on Monday, denying that there is a crisis going on despite warnings from Democrat lawmakers that the country is headed for “catastrophic” results because of the immigration agenda that the Biden administration is pushing.
“All I can do is communicate both to the American public and to the individuals seeking protection, that we are working around the clock, seven days a week to make that timeframe as short as possible, but they need to wait,” Mayorkas said. “But they need to wait with a particular goal in mind. We are not saying don’t come. We are saying don’t come now. Because we will be able to deliver safe and orderly process to them as quickly as possible.”
The White House to illegal immigrants: “We are not saying don’t come, we’re saying don’t come now, because we will be able to deliver a safe and orderly process to them as quickly as possible” pic.twitter.com/huYgag6cXM
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 1, 2021
“Do you believe that right now there is a crisis at the border?” a reporter asked.
“I think that the answer is no,” Mayorkas claimed. “I think there is a challenge at the border that we are managing and we have our resources dedicated to to managing it.”
“One of your predecessors, Jeh Johnson, he said that 1,000 illegal border crossings a day constitutes a crisis – that it overwhelms the system,” the reporter pressed. “We’re at between 3,000-4,000 now, according to CBP officials. How is that not a crisis?”
“I have explained that quite clearly,” Mayorkas claimed. “We are challenged at the border.”
Reporter: "Do you believe that right now there is a crisis at the border?"
Biden's DHS Secretary Mayorkas: "The answer is no." pic.twitter.com/iDfPdmUVO5
— Mark Bednar (@MarkBednar) March 1, 2021
During the press conference, Mayorkas repeatedly refused to state whether or not he supports Democrats in Congress using the reconciliation process, which would not require bipartisan support, to attempt to “legalize millions of undocumented immigrants this year,” as one reporter put it.
“I have to take this opportunity, at the same time to reiterate a message that we have communicated repeatedly throughout, which is a message to those individuals who are thinking of coming to our border,” Mayorkas later added. “They need, they need to wait. It takes time to rebuild the system from scratch. If they come, if families come, if single adults come to the border, we are obligated to in the service of public health, including the health of the very people who are thinking of coming to impose the travel restrictions under the CDC’s Title 42 authorities and return them to Mexico and we have done that. We need individuals to wait.”
The Trump administration invoked using Title 42 on the border due to the coronavirus pandemic and it reportedly had a strong impact on curbing the flow of illegal immigration to the U.S.
Over the past couple of days, two U.S. lawmakers from Texas, both Democrats, have warned about the crisis at the border, saying it could decimate the party and damage the country.
The most drastic warning was made by Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), who told CNN on Monday that urgent action was needed to avoid “catastrophic” results on the border.
“Well, my concern at this in the recent weeks in my district, migrants who made it across the border, who even pass the line of MPPs [Migrant Protection Protocols], who were 5,000 folks that have been waiting for two years across the border, made it across the Rio Grande Valley were processed and released,” Gonzalez said. “If that is the message that we send to Central America and around the world, I can assure you, it won’t be long before we have tens of thousands of people showing up to our border.”
“And it’ll be catastrophic for our party, for our country, for my region, for my district, in the middle of a pandemic, in an area where we’ve lost over 3,000 people in my small congressional district,” he continued. “So, I think we need to have a better plan in place. I think asylum seekers should be able to ask for asylum and be processed in their home country or a neighboring country. And we shouldn’t have a policy in place that impulses people to make this 2,000 mile trek where cartels and human traffickers are enriching themselves.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.
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