Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday said the U.S.-Mexico border is "secure" as migrant crossings have hit an all-time high.
"Look, the border is secure," Mayorkas said during remarks at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.
But the administration "is still working to make the border more secure," he added. "That has been a historic challenge."
Customs and Border Protection announced last week that there were 207,000 migrant encounters at the border in June, compared with 189,000-plus last year.
More than 1.95 million migrants were encountered crossing the border in fiscal year 2021 and about 1.75 million have been encountered in fiscal year 2022, which ends in late September.
Mayorkas on Tuesday took aim at lawmakers who refuse to pass immigration legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship for those already in the country.
"I have said to a number of legislators who expressed to me that we need to address the challenge at the border before they pass legislation, and I take issue with the math of holding the solution hostage until the problem is resolved," he said.
"There is work to be done," he said before clarifying that "safe and secure are two different words."
"There are smugglers that operate on the Mexican side of the border and placing one's life in their hands is not safe," he said.
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