The Biden administration faces increasing pressure due to an increase in the number of unaccompanied migrant children arriving in the United States, with the number of asylum seekers peaking in 20 years, putting facilities and federal shelters under immense pressure.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas took to the political talk show circuit on Sunday to insist that administrations are doing all they can. He continued to characterize the problem as a challenge and not a crisis, attempting to blame the previous White House holder Donald Trump squarely.
It takes time and it’s difficult because the whole system was dismantled by the previous administration, Mayorkas told CNNs State of the Union. There was a system in place that was demolished by the Trump administration.
On ABCs This Week, Mayorkas highlighted the more difficult aspects of Joe Bidens’ border policy, pointing out that the administration still expelled families and single adults under a settlement known as Title 42. He has insisted that the Central American migrants arriving in increasing numbers saw a clear message: Do not come. The border is closed. The border is secure.
But prominent Republicans have taken the border difficulties as an opportunity to attack Biden for his gentleness towards immigration.
Donald Trump said Mayorkas was distraught and called on him to complete the border wall.
There was a system in place that was demolished by the Trump administration (Alejandro Mayorkas)
It’s a crisis, said Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican. I don’t care what the administration wants to call it a crisis.
Tom Cotton, an Arkansas senator and staunch Trump loyalist, has criticized the secretary’s stance as nonsense.
In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Cotton characterized the Biden administration’s stance as essentially saying that the United States will not secure the border, and that’s a big welcome sign to migrants around the world. [saying] the border is wide open.
He went on to make grim claims, supported by no evidence, that the focus on unaccompanied children at the border enabled criminals trafficking fentanyl and other drugs as well as people on lists. terrorist surveillance to sneak into the United States undetected.
Political pressure on border affairs has been increasing for two months. In one of his first acts as president, Biden scrapped Trumps’ hard-line policy of returning unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to Mexico.
According to the Bidens guidelines, unaccompanied minors were exempt from Title 42 rules and protected from deportation. This was deemed to be in line with the Presidents’ promise to bring about a fair, safe and orderly immigration system.
On Sunday, Mayorkas said the new approach responds to the humanitarian needs of migrant children in a way that reflects our values and principles as a country. But in recent weeks, the number of underage asylum seekers has grown so rapidly that it has exceeded the capacity to treat children in accordance with immigration laws.
He basically says the US will not secure the Tom Cotton border
More than 5,000 unaccompanied migrant children are held in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities in Texas and Arizona. The backlog of cases has accumulated, more than 500 have been held in detention for more than 10 days, well beyond the 72 hours allowed by the immigration law.
There have been reports of overcrowding and harsh conditions at federal facilities in Texas. The Associated Press reported that some children, according to immigration lawyers, were sleeping on the floor after the bedding ran out.
The government has tried to move as many children as possible to shelters run by the US Refugee Office, but they are in turn stressed. There are now more than 9,500 children in shelters and short-term accommodation along the border. Non-government groups working with migrants and refugees have been forced to scramble to cope with the sudden demand for shelter.
As the administration struggles to keep a grip on events, it has also come under criticism from Republicans and the media for refusing to allow journalists to enter besieged CBP facilities where children are. inmates. Mayorkas traveled to El Paso, Texas with a bipartisan delegation from Congress on Friday. Journalists were not allowed to follow them.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials take people into custody near the Mexican border in Hidalgo, Texas on Saturday. Photograph: Julio Cortez / AP
Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz called the move outrageous and unacceptable. In a tweet, he said: No press. No cameras. What is Biden hiding?
Asked by Fox News on Sunday about the apparent lack of accountability, despite Bidens’ promise to restore confidence and transparency in public affairs, Mayorkas said the administration was working to provide access to border patrol posts.
But he added: First of all, we focus on operations and the execution of our plans.
As the political heat mounts at the border, moves are underway in Washington to try to find a longer-term solution to the age-old immigration conundrum. Last week, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would give dreamers, undocumented migrants brought to the United States as children, a path to citizenship.
The bill has an uncertain future in the Senate, given its 50-50 split and the need to reach 60 votes to pass most important laws.
Dick Durbin, a Democratic senator from Illinois who has introduced a similar Dream Act to the Senate five times in the past 20 years, told CNN he believes he is close to getting all 60 votes. required. He also denounced the current debate on whether there was a crisis or a challenge at the border.
We need to tackle our broken immigration laws in this country, he said. What you see at the border is proof of that, but there is much more to it.
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