Mayorkas faults Congress, downplays US inability to track all migrants, ahead of Title 42 expiration
"I cannot overemphasize that our current situation is the outcome of Congress leaving a broken, outdated immigration system," Mayorkas said.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday appeared to minimize the federal government not being able to track all of the migrants among tens of thousand expected at the southern U.S. border daily after the Title 42 immigration law expires a day later.
"Like other administrations, when we release individuals, we release them on conditions, and their compliance with those conditions is absolutely necessary," Mayorkas said at a press conference amid the already-building migration surge.
In response to a reporter's question about the number of migrants who'll be allowed into the county with little ability to track them, he said, "What you are inquiring of, is a minor, is a fraction of people that we encounter. In fact, the vast majority will be addressed in our Border Patrol facilities, in our ICE detention facilities."
Title 42 is a decade's old health-emergency rule activated by the Trump administration during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that allowed the U.S. to quickly remove asylum seekers.
Mayorkas, as he and others have in the past, put much of the blame for the country's immigration problems on Congress, particularly Democrats and Republicans' inability to agree on a plan to reform U.S. immigration system to allow people to legally enter the country while securing its borders.
"I cannot overemphasize that our current situation is the outcome of Congress leaving a broken, outdated immigration system in place for over two decades despite unanimous agreement that we desperately need legislative reform," Mayorkas said. "It is also the result of Congress' decision not to provide us with the resources that we need and that we requested."
Mayorkas also said in the roughly 20-minute presser his Department of Homeland Security is starting an ad campaign in South America to discourage immigration.
He also argued the border is "absolutely not open" and that the administration is making it easier to immigrate to the United States while increasing consequences for those who migrate illegally.