Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said Wednesday the administration was surging personnel at the border in anticipation of the expected influx of illegal immigrants at the expiration of Title 42.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is in the process of “surging personnel to the border, including more than 1,400 DHS personnel, 1,000 processing coordinators, and an additional 1,500 Department of Defense personnel,” according to Mayorkas. “All of these individuals will allow our law enforcement officers to stay in the field and focus on their critical mission.”
The secretary outlined measures his department would be taking in the face of increased illegal immigration, warning that they expect to see increased encounters at the southern border: “Our overall approach is to build lawful pathways for people to come to the United States and to impose tougher consequences on those who choose not to use those pathways.
However, Mayorkas also warned that the plan could see some struggles and they “expect to see large numbers of encounters at our southern border in the days and weeks after May 11.”
“Our plan will deliver results, but it will take time for those results to be fully realized.”
The Biden administration official pointed to the newly Republican-controlled Congress as being partially at fault for the struggles border patrol has faced with increased migration.
“I cannot overemphasize that our current situation is the outcome of Congress leaving a broken, outdated immigration system in place for over two decades, despite unanimous agreement that we desperately need legislative reform,” Mayorkas said. “It is also the result of Congress’s decision not to provide us with the resources we need and that we requested.”
The secretary outlined changes in how Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will proceed, moving toward using Title 8.
“Title 8 of the United States Code means tougher consequences … An individual who was removed under Title 8 is subject to at least a five-year bar on re-entry into the United States and can face criminal prosecution if they attempt to cross again.”
Mayorkas clarified when questioned by reporters that individuals in the custody of CBP will be given the option to voluntarily return to their country of origin and not suffer the consequences of removal.
“We will give people an opportunity to avoid that tougher consequence by voluntarily returning if they do not take that option,” the secretary said.
The exception to that rule would be certain instances when the migrant claimed to fear for their lives and claimed asylum. If they do claim asylum, they could encounter a “higher threshold” if they attempt to enter the United States illegally or seek relief in another country and are denied.
In March 2020, Title 42 of the Public Health Service Act of 1944 was implemented by the Trump administration. It permits the denial of asylum claims and the swift expulsion of the majority of illegal border-crossers on the grounds of preventing the entry of contagious diseases into the United States.
Agents at the border were able to quickly return many illegal immigrants to Mexico under Title 42, thereby preventing the spread of COVID-19 in overcrowded detention facilities.
Additionally, the Biden administration is starting a “new digital advertising campaign in Central and South America to counter the lies of the smugglers with accurate information about US immigration laws.”
Mayorkas also made it clear at several points during his comments that the Biden administration is working toward ways to allow migrants legal entry into the United States and that Congress should do more to facilitate modern immigration.
“Our president has led the largest expansion of lawful pathways ever,” Mayorkas said. “The kind of migration we continue to see today requires more resources—resources we have requested and have not received: clearer authority, and modernized processes that only Congress can deliver. We urge it to do so.”
From The Epoch Times