Connect with us

Featured

Biden admin refuses to call border situation a ‘crisis’

Published

on

alejandro mayorkas

Amid a surging number of migrants at the border since January, especially unaccompanied children, members of the Biden administration this week have blamed the Trump administration and are labeling the situation a “challenge” rather than a “border crisis.”

At Monday’s White House press briefing, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border was not a “crisis” but rather a “challenge”.

“The men and women of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are working around the clock seven days a week to ensure that we do not have a crisis at the border—that we manage the challenge, as acute as the challenge is,” Mayorkas said, adding that the “challenge” is not just for the government, but for non-governmental organizations and border communities.

In a report last month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection found that the number of migrants apprehended at the border during January hit roughly 78,000, an increase from 36,679 in January 2020.

MORE ON IMMIGRATION: Sara Carter: Biden immigration policy ‘perpetuating violence at the border’

When asked at Tuesday’s briefing by a reporter about the DHS estimating 117,000 unaccompanied migrant children will arrive by this year and Mayorkas not calling the situation a crisis, White House press secretary Jen Psaki deferred to Mayorkas to explain his comment but also defended his terminology.

“Well, I’ll leave that to the secretary of homeland security to define. He said it was a ‘challenge,’ it is a challenge,” Psaki replied. “We have more than 7,000 unaccompanied kids who have come into the United States, and that is certainly a lot of children that we are trying to treat humanely and safely and process through the system as quickly as we can. That’s not easy, that is a challenge.”

MORE ON IMMIGRATION: Jen Psaki denies ‘kids in cages’ amid migrant children facilities reopening

Later on Tuesday, Philip Weggmann of RealClearPolitics asked President Joe Biden if he believes there is a crisis at the border as he left the State Dining room.

“No, we will be able to handle it—god willing,” Biden replied.

At Monday’s briefing, Mayorkas also shifted blame for the increase in migrants at the border onto the Trump administration.

“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,” the DHS secretary said at the beginning of his Monday remarks. “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.”

Mayorkas also mentioned that the previous administration had terminated the Central American Minors Refugee program in 2017, as well as discontinued funding to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, which he alleged was at the center of the current situation at the border.

The DHS secretary also claimed that the Trump administration entered into contracts that “were unlawful, or against the interest of the United States Department of Justice,” adding, “that’s just the tip of it.”

“It takes time to build out of the depths of cruelty that the administration before us established,” said Mayorkas. “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.”

Furthermore, the DHS secretary said that Biden has a “multipart strategy” to carry out that vision, including ways the administration is working with the Mexican government and international organizations in Mexico, and vaccinating frontline workers at ports of entry, among other things.

However, Mayorkas issued a stern warning to those thinking of journeying to the U.S.-Mexico border.

“They need to wait,” Mayorkas said. “If they come, if families come, if single adults come to the border, we are obligated to, in the service of public health, including the health of the very people thinking of coming, to impose travel restrictions under CDC guidelines and return them to Mexico—and we have done that.”

“We are not saying don’t come,” he added. “We are saying don’t come now, because we will be able to deliver a safe and orderly process for them as quickly as possible.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

You may like

Continue Reading

Featured

Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims

Published

on

Screen Shot 2021 03 03 at 2.45.28 PM

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”

Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.

RELATED: ‘Let’s play strip poker’: Fmr. Cuomo aide accuses NY governor of sexual harassment

Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.

At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.

RELATED: De Blasio ‘sickened’ by Cuomo sexual harassment claims

“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”

“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”

This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”

RELATED: Cuomo responds to sexual harassment claims, saying he ‘may have been insensitive’

During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.

“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”

“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”

Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.

RELATED: ‘Eat the whole sausage: Gov. Cuomo in hot water for resurfaced video

Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.

“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”

Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.

“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”

He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.

Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”

“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.

MORE ON CUOMO: NY dem says state legislature is ‘inching toward’ Cuomo impeachment probe

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

You may like

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending Now

Advertisement

Trending