In a leaked recording obtained by Fox News, Department of Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas can be heard admitting that the situation at the border is “unsustainable” and that “we’re going to lose” if “borders are the first line of defense.”
The audio was reportedly recorded during a visit Mayorkas paid to the border to view the situation on the ground firsthand. According to official Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics, agents encountered 212,672 illegal immigrants at the border in the month of July — a shocking, 13% increase over the number of migrants apprehended in the month of June.
“A couple of days ago I was down in Mexico, and I said look, you know, if, if our borders are the first line of defense, we’re going to lose and this is unsustainable,” Mayorkas said Thursday in a meeting with border patrol agents, according to Fox News’ Bill Melguin, who came into possession of the audio. “We can’t continue like this, our people in the field can’t continue and our system isn’t built for it.”
Mayorkas appears, in the recording, to be reassuring CBP that things will change, though he is clear that agents must make sure that the situation comes under control.
“Mayorkas told the agents that the current border situation ‘cannot continue,’” Fox News reported Friday. “He said the federal government’s system was not designed to handle such an influx of migrants as the U.S. has seen in recent months and he was ‘very well’ aware that the sector recently came close to ‘breaking.’”
“It’s our responsibility to make sure that that never happens again,” Mayorkas can be heard saying. “The extent of the challenge should not be understated, but nor should our ability to meet it.”
The Biden administration recently released a plan to handle illegal immigration, but the proposal focused on addressing “root causes” of migrants from Mexico and Central America, and the solutions proposed were largely financial in nature.
On Thursday, confirming earlier reports of a major surge at the border, the Department of Homeland Security announced that apprehensions at the border are increasing, even though apprehensions typically decrease over the hot summer months. The flow of unaccompanied minors, which briefly slowed, appears to be increasing again alongside illegal immigration generally. In July, U.S. News and World Report indicates, the number of child migrants again hit record highs. Border agents took nearly 900 children into custody during a single day in July — the most ever.
Although DHS has kept the notorious “Title 42” immigration provision in place, allowing it to continue to expel apprehended illegal immigrants without extensive processing over concerns they could spread COVID-19, fewer than half of the immigrants apprehended were turned back under the provision: around 97,000 of the 212,000 encountered.
CBS reported on Thursday that around 83,000 migrant children and families have been approved to seek asylum in the United States. That approval allows them to remain in the U.S. until an immigration court conducts an asylum hearing.