In December, U.S. Border Patrol reportedly encountered more than 300,000 migrants crossing the Southern border, with more than 11,000 in a single day.
While that number is down to about 3,200 per day over the past week, the situation remains critical.
“We are dealing with fundamentally a broken immigration system and one that has been in dire need of repair for more than three decades,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, during a visit Monday to the southern border town of Eagle Pass, Texas.
Migrants walk along the highway through Arriaga, Chiapas state in southern Mexico, Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, during their journey north toward the U.S. border. (AP Photo/Edgar H. Clemente)
Meeting with border agents and local administrators, Mayorkas touted his record managing the migrant crisis.
“We have established Safe Mobility offices to assist migrants in Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Ecuador; implemented processes to enable different nationalities to access relief in the United States without making the perilous journey in the hands of smugglers; begun processing a historic number of refugees from our hemisphere,” the secretary said.
But Republicans say he’s not enforcing federal laws that are already on the books, sitting on the sidelines as migrants have surged into the United States.
“I believe Secretary Mayorkas is an abject failure, but it’s not because of incompetence. I believe he has done this intentionally,” House Speaker Mike Johnson said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
The DHS Secretary denies those claims, tasking Congress with finding a fix for the migrant crisis, and urging lawmakers to provide additional funding for border security.
“We need more transportation funding to facilitate an increase in removal flights and more resources for detention beds and alternatives to detention and to bolster our family expedited removal management problem,” Mayorkas said.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas arrives at the Capitol, Dec. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
President Biden included more money for the southern border in a recent foreign aid funding request, but Republicans say unless significant border policy changes are also included, they won’t pass it.
“We understand that Border Patrol needs the necessary resources to do its job. But they can’t do the job that they’re hired to do unless you change the policy here. And that’s why we’re so insistent on that being done,” Speaker Johnson said.
The House Homeland Security Committee is expected to hold its first hearing, on Wednesday, in its effort to impeach Secretary Mayorkas for his handling of the border – a move his office calls, “a baseless political exercise.”