Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas blamed the Trump administration for the current crisis at the southern border Monday– despite new data showing migrants flooding the border because they believe President Biden will welcome them with open arms.
The DHS boss’ comments come as the US sees spikes of over 100 percent in illegal border crossings from this time last year– with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador saying last month that migrants believed the borders were open under President Biden.
The US Customs and Border Protection revealed in a report last month that the number of migrants apprehended at the border in the month of January reached nearly 78,000, up from 36,679 in January 2020.
Speaking to reporters at a White House press briefing, Mayorkas referenced President Trump by name and targeted his policies to kick off his remarks.
“Let me explain to you why [fixing the broken immigration system] is hard and why it is going take time. I think it is important to understand what we have inherited because it defines the situation as it currently stands. Entire systems are not rebuilt in a day or in a few weeks,” he began, “To put it succinctly, the prior administration dismantled our nation’s immigration system in its entirety.”
“When I started 27 days ago I learned that we did not have the facilities available or equipped to administer the humanitarian laws that our Congress passed years ago,” Mayorkas continued, “We did not have the personnel, policies, procedures or training to administer those laws.
“Quite frankly, the entire system was gutted.”
The DHS secretary went on to note that the Trump administration had shuttered the Central American Minors Refugee program, as well as cut off funding to Northern Triangle countries, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, which he claimed was to blame for the current situation on the border.
He also alleged that the previous administration entered into contracts that “were unlawful, or against the interest of the United States Department of Justice,” going on to say “that’s just the tip of it.”
“It takes time to build out of the depths of cruelty that the administration before us established. What we are seeing now at the border is the immediate result of the dismantlement of the system and the time that it takes to rebuild it virtually from scratch.”
Mayorkas’ comments came before reporters had been given the chance to ask any questions, making it clear he was likely expecting questions on the burgeoning crisis at the US-Mexico border, a crisis that has erupted in the month since President Biden was sworn in.
In January a Honduran migrant traveling with a caravan to the United States said then-President-elect Joe Biden is giving them “100 days to get” to the country.
The unnamed migrant, in an interview filmed by CNN but uploaded by The Hill to Twitter, told the network he wanted “patience and prayers that we can get to the US because they have a new president: Biden.”
“He’s going to help all of us, he’s giving us 100 days to get to the US and give us legal [unclear] papers, so we can get a better life for our kids, and for our families,” the man continued.
The migrant was one of thousands traveling in a caravan from Honduras to the United States, a group that was ultimately stalled by border authorities in Guatemala.