In a striking revelation, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas admitted that a significant number of illegal immigrants encountered at the U.S. border are being released into the country.
This admission comes amid ongoing debates about the Biden administration's handling of the border crisis.
During a recent interview, Mayorkas stated it "would not surprise him at all" if over 70% of migrants crossing the border daily were released into the U.S. interior. This statement sheds light on the administration's approach to managing the surge in illegal border crossings.
The U.S. has seen a dramatic rise in migrant encounters. In fiscal year 2023, there were a record 2.4 million encounters at the southern border. This surge peaked in December 2022 with over 302,000 migrant encounters.
These numbers reflect a significant challenge for border control and immigration enforcement agencies, Fox News reported.
Concurrently, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported the removal of 142,580 illegal immigrants in fiscal year 2023. Though higher than in previous years, this number falls short of the 267,258 removals recorded in fiscal year 2019 under the Trump administration.
Following the termination of Title 42, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reports that over 470,000 individuals have been removed. Title 42, a public health order, had previously been pivotal in controlling border crossings.
Officials briefed lawmakers on the fact that over 5,000 illegal immigrants are being released daily, not counting those admitted at ports of entry.
In response to the escalating situation, the Biden administration has sought an additional $14 billion in supplemental funding for border management. This request underscores the administration's acknowledgment of the growing challenges at the border.
Secretary Mayorkas has pointed to systemic issues as the primary "magnet" attracting migrants, rather than specific policies of the Biden administration. He emphasizes the lengthy process in the U.S. immigration system as a key factor.
Mayorkas's stance highlights the need for a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration system to address the ongoing crisis effectively.
Mayorkas explained the process for those entering the country, stating, "When somebody enters the country, we place them in immigration enforcement proceedings under immigration law, and if their claim for relief, their claim to remain in the United States succeeds, then by law they can stay here." This statement reflects the legal framework guiding the handling of migrants.
In discussing the root causes of the crisis, Mayorkas emphasized the delay in processing immigration cases, which can sometimes extend over six years. He expressed his commitment to working with Republican and Democratic lawmakers to find a lasting solution to the broken immigration system.
"What is a magnet is the fact that the time in between an encounter of an individual at the border and their final ruling in their immigration case can sometimes take six or more years. That is a magnet, which is why precisely why I am working with Republicans and Democrats in the United States Senate to deliver a solution for the American people, to deliver a fix to an immigration system that everyone agrees is broken, and that is long overdue."
The Biden administration's handling of the border crisis continues to be a point of significant debate.
With the acknowledgment of high release rates and the ongoing surge in migrant encounters, the administration faces the challenge of balancing border security with humane and legal responses to immigration.
As negotiations for additional funding continue, the focus remains on finding effective and sustainable solutions to manage the border crisis while addressing the underlying systemic issues in the U.S. immigration system.
In conclusion, the administration's recent admissions and actions reveal a complex and multifaceted situation at the U.S. southern border. The surge in migrant encounters, coupled with the systemic challenges in the immigration process, highlights the urgent need for comprehensive immigration reform. The ongoing efforts by the administration, including the request for additional funding and collaboration with lawmakers, are critical steps toward addressing this pressing issue.