Sen. Mitt Romney R-Utah, ripped into Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas for his indifference in answering lawmakers' questions about solving the worsening crisis at the U.S. Southern border, reported the Washington Examiner.
Romney said in a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing Thursday, while pointing to border statistics on nearby poster boards, "What I find astonishing, Mr. Chairman, is that we have the secretary responsible for securing our border and our immigration system who doesn’t recognize these charts as being a problem. And there are human beings behind these numbers. And (he) is not saying, 'Hey, we’ve got to make some changes immediately.' I find that extraordinary and extremely damning,"
Mayorkas testified that operations at the border were manageable even as the Biden administration has requested thousands of volunteers to assist DHS from non-law-enforcement agencies and has opened more than a dozen emergency facilities nationwide to hold migrant children before they are resettled in the U.S. Romney took issue with the secretary's testimony in earlier exchanges and called Mayorkas' stance "stunning," reported the Washington Examiner.
Biden rescinded many Trump-era border policies that deterred illegal migration.
In April, more than 178,000 people attempted to cross illegally from Mexico into the United States between ports of entry or were denied admission at border crossings. The number is the highest monthly rate in 21 years and has more than doubled since Biden took office in January, reported the Washington Examiner.
"Is this not a massive failure that would suggest that the administration needs to take immediate action to remedy what we’re seeing here?" Romney asked. Mayorkas responded by alluding that the administration had taken immediate action resettling children who show up at the border in the U.S.
Romney countered by saying that Biden is not stopping the flow of children arriving from Central America.
The senator then declared, "The number coming into our country and being released into our country is at a skyrocketed level, as is this. The question is: Do you have plans to do something dramatically different such that those numbers come down to an acceptable level? Because, as you can imagine, this overwhelms our Border Control agents.
"If they’ve got numbers like this they’re dealing with, this means that the drug cartels can be smuggling through drugs because our folks are taking care of kids. They’re taking care of people coming in illegally.
''Do we have plans to dramatically address what’s happening here?" he asked.
Mayorkas did not outline any plan to stop the flow of 17,000 children, 50,000 family members, and 100,000 adults who were encountered at the border last month. The secretary said the children had "certain rights" and that because of Biden's policy changes earlier this year, children could not be turned away at the border and must be allowed into the U.S., reported the Washington Examiner.
Mayorkas said 90% of children have a parent or legal guardian residing in the U.S. who has claimed asylum.
Since fiscal year 2021 began in October 2020, nearly 750,000 people have been encountered unlawfully trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico, more than the 459,000 in all of 2020. Over the past decade, an average of 30,000 to 50,000 people were encountered trying to get across the southern border unlawfully every month, reported the Washington Examiner.
The Biden administration insists the southern border is not in a state of crisis but has opened more than a dozen emergency shelters nationwide to house more than 20,000 children who showed up without parents.
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