We’re doing ‘extraordinary’ job at border

We're doing 'extraordinary' job at border

President Biden’s defiant Homeland Security czar said Sunday his agency is doing an “extraordinary’’ job on the migrant crisis — although warning it’s “too early’’ to tell if the surge in asylum-seekers has peaked.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas — under fire from all sides over the flood of migrants at the US-Mexico border — hailed what he said was a drastic reduction in migrant encounters in the two days since the more restrictive pandemic emergency measure Title 42 expired Thursday.

Border Patrol agents encountered about 6,300 migrants at the border Friday and another 4,200 Saturday, Mayorkas told CNN’s “State of the Union” — while earlier in the week, that daily figure was north of 10,000.

Still, the Democratic Biden administration’s Homeland chief said it is “too early” to know if the lower daily numbers will hold.

But regardless, Mayorkas pushed back against border-state Democrats such as Arizona’s Rep. Ruben Gallego, who has said “federal agencies have had time to plan, [for the expiration of Title 42], but their efforts have fallen short.”

Mayorkas said he would “respectfully disagree” with Gallego, pointing to a boost in border resources that his agency has deployed, including new asylum officers, border and processing agents, stations and detention facilities and regional-processing centers.

Migrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border wait to be transported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers for processing on Friday, May 12, 2023 in El Paso, Texas.
Migrants who crossed the US-Mexico border wait to be transported by US Customs and Border Protection officers for processing on Friday, May 12, 2023, in El Paso, Texas.
James Keivom for NY Post

“It’s extraordinary what we’ve done over the past 18 months or so,” Mayorkas told host Dana Bash.

The DHS chief noted that in the two days since Title 42 expired, officials had seen a “50% drop” from the record number of border encounters in the earlier part of last week.

“We have communicated very clearly a vitally important message to the individuals that are thinking of arriving at our southern border: There is a lawful, safe and orderly way to arrive in the United States that is through the pathways that President Biden has expanded in an unprecedented way. And then, there’s a consequence if one does not use those lawful pathways,” Mayorkas said.

“And that consequence is removal from the United States, a deportation and encountering a five-year ban on reentry and possible criminal prosecution.”

Under Title 42, migrants could be more easily and quickly booted from the US.

migrants huddled outside texas church
Migrant crossings had fallen drastically in the two days since Title 42 lapsed, Mayorkas said.
James Keivom

Without it, there have been fears of a new tidal wave of migrants. The White House ended up tweaking the rules to try to curb the expected chaos, including making asylum-seekers who say they fear for their lives in their home country to attempt to first get help from the country they traveled through to get to the US.

The migrants could then be released into the US as their official asylum application winds its way through the courts — a process that could take years.

Mayorkas called America’s asylum system the “jewel of the United States” and said migrants are in more danger than ever as they try to navigate through it.

“No longer are individuals arriving at our border on their own volition. They are arriving in the hands of smugglers that wreak such tragedy, such trauma, upon their lives,” he said of the cartels who shepherd asylum-seekers through Latin America to the US.

Meanwhile, a prominent Tennessee Republican who had called for Mayorkas’ impeachment appeared on the program to downplay the decrease in asylum-seekers after Title 42 lapsed.

Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Thursday, May 11,
Mayorkas said he is not preoccupied with calls for his impeachment by some House Republicans.
CNP / Polaris

House Homeland Security Chair Rep. Mark Green said Customs and Border Patrol is still expecting a general 40% increase in migrants after the measure’s expiration.

“We’re going to look into his dereliction of duty, the laws he’s intentionally violated and not followed,” Green told Bash of Mayorkas.

“His interim final rule to just speed people into the country is an excellent example of them just making up the laws, which we are the ones, we write the laws in Congress. He executes the laws — right? — as the Executive Branch,” Green said.

Green’s calls for impeachment were echoed Friday by the House’s third most powerful Republican, Rep. Tom Emmer, the Majority Whip.

Mayorkas said he was not concerning himself with the prospect.

“Dana, I am focused on the work in front of us,” he said.

“Meeting the challenge, not only with respect to the southern border, but meeting the challenge of cyber, the cyber threat, from cyber criminals and adverse foreign nation states.

“I’m focused on the increasing severity and frequency of extreme weather events. I am focused on the adverse actions of the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Iran, Russia. I am focused on the work of the Department of Homeland Security. I will continue to focus on that work throughout my tenure.”

Only one cabinet member has ever been impeached in US history: Secretary of War William Belknap, for corruption in 1876.

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