Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, acknowledged before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that "our entire immigration system is broken" and, that he foresees an avalanche of illegal immigrants starting next month, when Title 42 ceases to be in effect. GOP lawmakers demanded his resignation and again threatened him with impeachment, pointing out that since Biden's arrival at the White House almost five million illegal immigrants have managed to enter the country.
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) April 18, 2023
Mayorkas claims not to be responsible for the figures
In a tense session, GOP senators put forth the accusation that both Mayorkas and his Department's immigration policies are failing and moreover, these failures are creating a serious national security problem by facilitating the massive influx of immigrants and by also failing to remove them. They also questioned the Secretary about the investigation by The New York Times, which reported that a large number of Dreamers and children, are being exploited and that the Administration ignored reports forewarning of this situation.
Mayorkas finally burst out and assured that he is not to blame for any of these situations, stressing that it is a structural problem in the US that must be corrected by lawmakers in Congress:
"You are incorrectly attributing it to our policies. Our asylum system is broken, our entire immigration system is broken, and in desperate need of reform — and it’s been so for years and years."
Up to 390,000 migrants expected to arrive each month after Title 42 ends
During his appearance, the head of Homeland Security admitted that March saw a 25% spike in the number of border encounters, after two months in which the influx had declined. In addition, he announced that, when Title 42 is no longer in effect as a result of the end of the covid state of emergency in May, his Department anticipates a significant increase in illegal border crossing attempts. According to a DHS report, these could reach 13,000 per day (about 390,000 per month).
Mayorkas assured that the Administration is preparing for this contingency, with measures that will penalize even more harshly those who try to reach the country illegally. DHS officials also noted that they are hiring more staff, requesting more planes for deportation flights, and making room in detention centers to process immigrants' cases more quickly.
For Mayorkas, U.S. open jobs are the cause
For the secretary, the cause of the high immigration pressure is that "we have between 10 and 11 million open jobs in the United States. I hear from employers across the political spectrum about the needs for the labor market. And that is a message that is transmitted and exploited by smugglers." of people. Mayorkas said that, since his arrival, DHS has focused on reducing illegal border crossings by the creation of more legal channels for entry into the United States, as well as to address the "root causes" that drive people to flee their countries, such as poverty, violence and repression.
They callously ignore the migrants who die or who are trafficked.
Why do they promote illegal immigration and accept the human suffering that results? pic.twitter.com/Yw7bwmkyXK
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) April 18, 2023
Between four and five million illegal immigrants since 2021
These are policies that do not convince Republican senators, who openly criticize their results. Thus, Ron Johnson blasted the secretary for saying that "Somewhere between four and five million people during this administration have come to this country, but probably don’t qualify for asylum. Basically, what we’re looking at is, 22 states have populations of less than four million people. 28 states have populations less than five million people. That is the magnitude of the problem." The conservative lawmaker also pointed out that the number is higher than the number of births in the country and demanded Mayorkas' resignation.
According to official figures, there are currently some 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Nearly half of them face deportation proceedings before the immigration courts. However, only a small portion is ever deported. Of the more than 1.2 million immigrants with final deportation orders, only 70,000 of those orders were executed in the last fiscal year.
Dreamers 'enslaved because of' Mayorkas' policies
The other major topic of the session was the NYT's denunciation of Dreamers forced to work "like slaves" in the face of the Administration's passivity. Conservative Senator Josh Rawley starred in a tough cross-examination with Mayorkas, who tried to evade responsibility for the current administration by pointing the finger at Donald Trump's team.
"Under the last administration, children were reunited with their families in their home country. You changed that. And as soon as you changed it, the numbers exploded. That is your responsibility. "You have, at every stage facilitated this modern-day indentured servitude of minor children. Why should you not be impeached for this?" Rawley noted. Mayorkas responded that " You're not, it is stunning to me, stunning to hear you say that the prior administration reunited children with their parents" which provoked a strong response from the Republican, who ended up calling for his resignation or face a process to be removed from his post:
Thousands of children are in physical danger. Danger because of what you are doing. A moment ago you were crowing about the fact that you treated children so well, and yet we find tens of thousands of children who are forced to work as slaves because of your policies and you turn around and blame a prior administration. You should have quit a long time ago. And if you cannot change course, you should be removed from office.
Secretary Mayorkas’ failed border policies have led to the indentured servitude of migrant children on a scale never seen in American history. Kids treated like slaves in factories. Smugglers collecting the profit. Mayorkas should be removed pic.twitter.com/naql0cTGsQ
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) April 18, 2023