How the Biden administration is responding to possible migrant surge
With the number of people seeking entry to the U.S. at its southern border expected to rise with the end of Title 42 on Thursday, the Biden administration is taking a strong posture against those who try to enter illegally.
“We are a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said at the White House briefing Thursday. “We are doing everything possible to enforce those laws in a safe, orderly and humane way.”
Mayorkas said the U.S. is already seeing “large numbers of encounters” along some parts of its border with Mexico and expects the numbers to continue and grow because of the end of Title 42, which expires with the end of the national COVID-19 public health emergency.
Mayorkas said smugglers have spread false information that the U.S.-Mexico border will be open and that it is not.
“I want to be very clear, our borders are not open,” he said. “People who cross our border unlawfully and without a legal basis to remain will be promptly processed and removed.”
Mayorkas said the current situation was “the outcome of Congress leaving a broken outdated immigration in place for over two decades despite unanimous agreement that we desperately need legislative reform.”
Title 42 and its impacts on immigration in the U.S., explained
In addition to boots on the ground, a Department of Homeland Security program announced $332.5 million for humanitarian support that will go to local governments and service organizations. The agency is also running a digital ad campaign in South and Central America warning people that crossing into the U.S. illegally is a crime.
President Joe Biden said Tuesday he expects the U.S.-Mexico border to be “chaotic for a while” and said the U.S. needs to raise the debt limit so there can be more agents at the border.
“We need more at the border, not less at the border,” Biden said.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., accused the Biden administration of not being prepared.
“The Biden administration had two years to prepare for this and did not do so and our state is going to bear the brunt and migrants will be in crisis,” she told “Face the Nation.”
Sinema called the situation at the border a “humanitarian crisis” and “a crisis for our border communities who do not have the infrastructure to manage this kind of influx.”
Sinema co-sponsored legislation that would keep Title 42 in place without a public health emergency for two years. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, co-sponsored the legislation. In a statement, Tillis said the bill would “prevent the catastrophic fallout at the border we will soon see if no action is taken.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said in response to Biden’s comments that the border would be chaotic, saying Wednesday, “With respect, Mr. President, it’s been chaotic for two years because of your actions.”
House Republicans proposed a bill that would expand restrictions on those seeking to enter the U.S. and would allow for additional miles of border wall to be built. McCarthy called the bill “the strongest border security bill to come through Congress in more than 100 years,” but it’s unlikely to pass in the Senate and Biden has said he would veto it.