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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday discouraged immigrants from coming to the U.S. border “only to be sent back,” echoing a sentiment he and other leaders have previously voiced.
“Individuals and families should not put their lives at risk by taking the dangerous journey only to be sent back,” he said in a video shared to Twitter by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday.
His statement comes just days after a judge in Louisiana temporarily blocked the Biden administration from lifting Title 42, a Trump-era immigration policy that allows for the speedy expulsion of foreign nationals at the border under pandemic conditions.
“The restrictions at our southwest border have not changed. Single adults and families encountered will continue to be expelled, where appropriate, under Title 42, and those who are unable to establish a legal basis to remain will be removed,” Mayorkas reiterated in his Wednesday statement.
“The bottom line is that U.S. borders are not open,” he said firmly. “Do not come to the border. Do not put your life at risk only to be sent back.”
Mayorkas also said that Border Patrol agents were already “managing numbers at historic levels due to large movements of people fleeing violence, corruption, poverty, climate change and other hardships.” He also warned that migrant numbers could rise further.
Should Title 42 be lifted, Mayorkas said numbers could increase to as many as 18,000 border apprehensions per day.
“What we do is we prepare and we plan, and we’ve been doing so for months understanding that the Title 42 authority that the CDC holds is not going to be around forever because, quite frankly, we want to conquer the pandemic and put it behind us,” Mayorkas said on CNN’s “State of the Union” earlier this month.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has said that “the Department of Homeland Security will continue planning for the eventual lifting of Title 42” as the administration’s appeal works through the courts.