Mayorkas Defends Administration’s Preparations for End of Title 42 as GOP Pins Blame

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on May 14 said that the flood of illegal immigrants anticipated following the expiration of Title 42 on Thursday has not happened, and that the Biden administration has designed and put in place historic and effective immigration regulations.  

However, in the two days prior to Title 42 ending, U.S. border officials had already started reporting daily records of 10,000 encounters with illegal immigrants entering the United States each day. 

On ABC’s “This Week,” Mayorkas told host Jonathan Karl that following the large numbers of illegal immigrant encounters registered earlier in the week, and with Title 42 no longer in place, the flow of entries into the United States had dipped dramatically and was manageable. 

“So why is that, Jon?” the DHS secretary said. “We have been preparing for this transition for months and months and we’ve been executing on our plan.  

“Accordingly, and our plan is very straightforward—there is a safe, lawful, and orderly way to reach the United States and seek humanitarian relief, and that is through the lawful pathways that we have expanded under President Biden’s leadership.”

Mayorkas added: “And then there is a dangerous way to arrive at our southern border in the hands of ruthless smugglers. We have to incentivize the use of the lawful pathways and disincentivize placing people’s lives in the hands of smugglers.”

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Dana Bash posed to the secretary criticisms that the Biden administration didn’t plan and prepare adequately for the end of Title 42. 

“I would respectfully disagree. We have been planning for months and months,” Mayorkas said. “Over a year and a half, we have surged resources, asylum officers, Border Patrol agents, processing coordinators to do the data entry work so our Border Patrol agents could be out in the field.

“We’ve expanded our holding capacity in Border Patrol stations; we’ve added beds to Immigration and Customs Enforcement in our detention facilities; we’ve increased our transportation resources, the number of flights, removal flights, with our foreign partners; we’re setting up regional processing centers now. It’s extraordinary what we’ve done over the past 18 months or so.”

Mark Green
Mark Green Committee chairman Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) speaks during a House Homeland Security Committee about the U.S.-Mexico border on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 28, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

GOP Response

Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), chair of the Committee on Homeland Security, responded to Mayorkas’s report on the border situation on “State of the Union” on May 14.

Bash cited the statement from Mayorkas that border crossings were down following the end of Title 42, and asked Green, “That, unequivocally, is good, right?”

“What the secretary failed to say is that this week has seen more crossings than any week in our history,” Green noted. “Yes, there was some anticipation and so people started coming across at higher numbers, in fact record-breaking numbers at the first part of the week.”

Green continued, noting that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) “said a 40 percent increase is expected with Title 42 gone. That’s another 9 million people in two years. I mean, they’ve already let 5.04 million encounters and 1.5 million got aways as they’ve tried to manage border security and not secure our border. So, no, I’m sorry. I disagree with the secretary.”

Haley Weighs In

Former South Carolina governor and 2024 presidential candidate Nikki Haley, like other Republicans, pinned the blame on the Biden administration for the border crisis. 

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign event in the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, in Manchester, N.H., on Feb. 17, 2023. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

“Five million illegal immigrants have crossed the border. I went with Congressman [Tony] Gonzales 400 miles along that border. And what I saw was unbelievable,” Haley told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“You have ranchers that get up and get their coffee in the morning and go see if someone died crossing the fence. 

“They pick up any little kids left over and take them to Border Patrol. When you talk to sheriffs, sheriffs say before 7 a.m. they’ve rounded up illegal immigrants, turn them over to Border Patrol who documents them and then releases them until their court date three or four years from now. You ask Border Patrol what they do, and they said, ‘We’re glorified babysitters.’”

Haley said that when she was governor of South Carolina, the state passed “one of the toughest immigration laws in the country.”

CBS’s Margaret Brennan asked Dr. Victor Trevino, the mayor of border city Laredo in Texas, what he thought about what the 2024 presidential candidates were saying about the situation at the border.  

I think this is not a Democratic or Republican problem. It’s an American problem and things should have been done a long time ago,” Trevino, a physician, said. “Immigration reform is long overdue.”

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