Alejandro Mayorkas, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, said on NBC that the U.S.-Mexico border is closed. However, he confirmed that Washington would continue welcoming unaccompanied minors into the country.
Mayorkas’s statement comes as the Biden administration takes heat due to its weak immigration policies that have encouraged many migrants to cross into America via Mexico.
“We are expelling families. We are expelling single adults. And we’ve made a decision that we will not expel young, vulnerable children. I think we are executing on our plans… We have a short-term plan, a medium-term plan, and a long-term plan, and the president and I have spoken to this repeatedly.”
“Please remember something: That President Trump dismantled the orderly, humane, and efficient way of allowing children to make their claims under United States law in their home countries,” Mayorkas told NBC.
In an ABC interview, even President Biden, who was extremely welcoming of migrants even during his presidential campaign, was forced to say that immigrants were not welcome. He asked the potential migrants to remain where they were. He promised to set up DHS and HHS (Health and Human Services) centers at their homes so that they can apply for asylum right from their hometowns. The migration concerns are so high that it has eclipsed the Biden administration’s efforts to gain positive publicity from the $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package.
Data from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) show that the Border Patrol caught over 100,000 people in February – tripling the Feb. 2020 number. Of the captured, 69,000 were single adults, 19,000 were individuals belonging to a family, and over 9,200 were unaccompanied minors. The HHS is holding more than 10,000 children; 5,000 more are in CBP custody.
The media has been prohibited from entering the CBP to suppress the information about the border crisis. Getty Images photographer John Moore recently accused Washington of not providing access, due to which many photographers were forced to go to the Mexican side to take images. He tweeted that he has photographed the CBP under Bush, Obama, and Trump and has never had any issues. But now, under Biden, “zero access is granted to media.”
Republican Senator Tom Cotton dismissed DHS Secretary Mayorkas’ statement that the border is closed and secure.
“The Biden administration keeps saying that Trump somehow dismantled the immigration system. That’s false… The border right now is wide open because the Biden administration dismantled the very effective policies of the Trump administration and the agreements we had with Mexico and other Latin American countries,” he said in an interview with Fox News.
Cotton said the crisis at the border was caused by Biden canceling three highly effective policies that Trump enforced. Firstly, Biden ended Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy that detained migrants in Mexico while the government reviewed their asylum requests.
Secondly, Biden dismantled agreements with countries like Guatemala that mandated that migrants passing through these nations first make an asylum claim in these countries. Lastly, Biden lifted an order related to minors, which consequently encouraged more to enter via the U.S.-Mexico border.