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GOP senators grill DHS secretary on border crisis, but he still won’t call it a crisis

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After historical surges in immigration this last month, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee Thursday. Republican members were finally able to ask Mayorkas direct questions about the ongoing crisis.

First, when ranking member Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) brought out a chart to display the surge, Mayorkas attempted to reiterate President Biden’s sentiments, blaming it on the previous administration. Portman pointed again to the numbers.

“Don’t blame the previous administration for not having facilities that they didn’t need because they didn’t have the surge,” Portman said.

RELATED: 20 governors demand that Biden end the border crisis

Next, Sen. James Lankford (R-OH) asked the secretary to address the amount of people who have crossed the border and not received a court date for their immigration hearing.

“We understand there’s been 19,000 individuals that have crossed the border this calendar year that were not given a notice to appear [in court,]” Lankford said. “Is that correct?”

“I am not aware of that number,” Mayorkas replied.

Then, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) asked Mayorkas if he would call the situation a crisis. “It seems Mr. Secretary that you’re proud of the progress made by the administration” the Utah senator asked. “I see an extraordinary crisis! Do you recognize this as an alarming crisis? Is this not a massive failure that would suggest that the administration needs to take immediate action to remedy what we’re seeing here?”

“We have taken immediate action with respect to the unaccompanied children,” Mayorkas responded, refusing to call the situation a crisis.

RELATED: Almost 500 incidents of violent crimes at the border since Biden took office: report

After, Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) pointed out improvement in the processing of these children. Just in April, the average unaccompanied child found at the border was in Border Patrol custody for 139 hours. Now, on May 11, children were in Health and Human Services’ custody for only 26 hours.

But, even the Democrat senator had to point out a glaring problem when it comes to immigration. The United States has no ambassador for the countries of Honduras or El Salvador. Honduras is the number two nationality among migrants crossing in recent months. As many as 38,000 arrived at the border in April alone. Over 11,000 migrants were from El Salvador, making it the fourth most represented nationality.

“We have not had a US ambassador to Honduras for four years,” Carper said. “For four years!”

“We’re very focused on that,” Mayorkas said.

RELATED: California Border Patrol saw a 51% increase in illegal immigrants in April

Finally, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) talked about his own visit to the border and pointed out that neither the President or the Vice President have visited the border after over 100 days in office.

“Are you disappointed that President Biden and VP Harris have not taken the time to come to the border?” Scott asked.

“Absolutely not,” Mayorkas said. He claimed the responsibility for visiting the border himself, and said he’s been many times since.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism

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Immigration

DHS Secretary Mayorkas Says We Cannot Remove ‘11 Million Undocumented Individuals’ Unlawfully in U.S.

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DHS Secretary Mayorkas

Troubling details were unearthed during the questioning of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by the Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Grassley asked Mayorkas about a DHS memo from September 30 which reads: “The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen will not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them.”

“Does that reasoning apply to the [1.2] million illegal immigrants who have received due process and been given a final order of removal by an immigration judge?” Grassley asked Mayorkas.

“We cannot remove 1.2 million individuals, nor can we remove more than 11 million undocumented individuals, individuals who are unlawfully present in the United States, who might not have final orders of removal” Mayorkas answered.

Mayorkas also stated that he had issued the due process policy after drawing on “tremendous experience not only as a member of the Department of Homeland Security but as a federal prosecutor.”

Grassley pressed Mayorkas, asking, “should any of them be removed?”

“Of course,” Mayorkas said. “I do believe that individuals who pose a public safety threat, who pose a national security threat, who pose a border security threat, should be removed, and we should be smart and effective in our use of resources, and we should focus on the well-being of our communities and prioritize individuals for removal.”

In his opening statements, Grassley addressed Mayorkas and stated, “When you allow the ACLU and open-borders immigration activists rather than career law enforcement professionals to dictate the terms of your immigration and border policies, then you shouldn’t be surprised when record-shattering numbers of people start showing up at the border to take advantage of that.”

Grassley continued, “When you run DHS like it’s an ‘Abolish ICE’ fan club, you shouldn’t be surprised when you have an illegal immigration crisis on your hands.”

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