Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, told lawmakers on Wednesday that he does not believe that the Biden administration’s immigration policies have contributed to a massive surge of immigrants at the southwest border.
During a hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee, Republican Rep. Jake LaTurner asked Mayorkas whether President Joe Biden’s “policies and rhetoric” have contributed to an influx of migrants at the border.
LaTurner asserted that a moratorium that Biden put on certain deportations days into his presidency, his end to construction of the border wall and a change to asylum policies have induced migrants to try to enter the U.S. at the southern border.
“His border immigration policies and rhetoric undermine, in my opinion, a core American value of American life — the rule of law,” LaTurner said.
“Do you think it’s a reflection of the rhetoric of President Biden and the policies he has implemented since coming into office? Do you think that has had an impact on the increase?”
“I do not,” said Mayorkas.
On Tuesday, Mayorkas said that the Biden administration is “on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years.”
Despite the historic surge, Mayorkas declined earlier in his House testimony to characterize the influx of migrants as a “crisis.”
“The migration challenge that we are facing at the southwest border is not new. We confronted it in 2019 and 2014 and before then. It is a reflection of the fact that our system is broken. It is a reflection of other factors as well,” he said.
“The American people heard that answer and they are not buying it,” LaTurner replied.