WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the Biden administration won’t build walls on the border despite a pickup in crossings.
“We have seen large numbers of individuals encountered at our border making a claim for asylum, for humanitarian relief,” Mayorkas said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” adding that it’s nothing new and spans several administrations. “It is the policy of this administration, we do not agree with a building of the wall.”
“The law provides that individuals can make the claim for humanitarian relief,” he said. When asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether the administration’s policies are encouraging even more immigration, Mayorkas said: “I don’t think that is the case at all.”
President Joe Biden faced criticism from fellow Democrats after a video emerged last week of Border Patrol agents menacing Haitian migrants at the Texas border. He called the scenes “horrible” and vowed those responsible “will pay.”
Mayorkas said last week that about 30,000 migrants have arrived in the Texas border town of Del Rio since Sept. 9 and about 12,400 will be allowed into the U.S. while their asylum applications are considered by immigration courts.
Mayorkas called U.S. immigration laws “a completely broken system” in his “Meet the Press” interview. The administration will try to rebuild “safe and orderly pathways for individuals to make their claims here in the United States,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said his state will move to secure the border and immigrants will be arrested for trespassing. “They sent a message and signal to the entire world that they are not going to secure the border,” Abbott said on “Fox News Sunday” of the Biden administration.
He said Texas will work to secure its border using the National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety. “The people in South Texas — they are angry,” Abbott said on Fox News. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility began an inquiry into the episode of agents menacing Haitians to determine possible disciplinary action. Abbott told Fox News that if federal agents are fired he will hire them to work for the State of Texas.
Democratic lawmakers including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have criticized the administration’s handling of thousands of Haitian migrants massed near Del Rio.
Mayorkas said Friday that all migrants have been cleared from a squalid camp under a bridge in Del Rio.
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