Mayorkas Responds to Growing Public Support for Mass Deportation of Illegal Immigrants

Mayorkas Responds to Growing Public Support for Mass Deportation of Illegal Immigrants
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before the House Appropriations subcommittee on Homeland Security in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, on April 10, 2024. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas responded to a poll showing growing support for the mass deportation of illegal immigrants by saying the Biden administration holds in high esteem the value of keeping families together, regardless of immigration status, while recalling President Joe Biden’s words that America is proudly a “nation of immigrants.”

Mr. Mayorkas’s remarks came in a June 18 interview with CNN’s Jim Acosta, who asked the homeland secretary to respond to a recent CBS/YouGov poll showing that 62 percent of U.S. voters support a new national program to deport all illegal immigrants from the United States, with some form of the proposal endorsed by former President Donald Trump, who has vowed to implement mass deportation measures if elected in November.

Asked for comment on the poll numbers, which are sharply higher now than they were in 2016, when just 39 percent of American voters backed the mass deportation of illegal immigrants, Mr. Mayorkas brought up President Biden’s new program that shields illegal immigrant adults who are married to U.S. citizens from deportation while extending these protections to children whose parent is married to a U.S. citizen.

“It is about family unity,” Mr. Mayorkas said. “That is an ethic and a value of this country. And we will benefit significantly from it. We will keep families together. Families, including the undocumented spouses, who have contributed so much to this country in so many different ways.”

Asked once again to react to public support for mass deportations and chants at some Trump rallies to “send them back,” Mr. Mayorkas said he would not comment on the political dimension of this, as he would risk Hatch Act violations by doing so.

The Hatch Act prohibits civil servants in the executive branch from engaging in some types of political activity.

“I cannot comment on the political landscape, the law prevents me from doing so, but I will say this, as the president so poignantly and powerfully expressed today, we are, and proudly so, a ‘nation of immigrants,'” he said.

President Biden remarked on June 18, the day that he announced the new deportation protection program, that he believes that the United States can continue to embrace immigration without having to give up securing the border.

“They’re false choices. We can both secure the border and provide legal pathways to citizenship,” he said.

The president said we have to remember who we are.

“We’re the United States of America, and nothing is beyond our capacity,” he said. “We’re a nation of immigrants, and that’s who we are.”

Illegal immigration has become a key concern for voters this election year, with a February Monmouth poll showing that, for the first time in the survey’s history, a majority of Americans support building a wall along the U.S.–Mexico border.

The total number of people who entered the country illegally under President Biden is just more than 9 million, according to official figures from Customs and Border Protection, although some estimates put this number much higher.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has said that he believes that the 9 million is a vast undercount and that the true figure is closer to 16 million.

Illegal Immigrant Crime in Focus

Amid voter focus on the problem of unlawful immigration, the matter of crime committed by illegal immigrants has garnered significant attention.

A recent case involved the killing of Rachel Morin, a mother of five, in August 2023. An illegal immigrant from El Salvador, Victor Martinez-Hernandez was arrested last week and charged with murder in connection with the slaying.

Mr. Martinez-Hernandez, who allegedly crossed into the United States illegally in February 2023, was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree rape.

In the interview on CNN, Mr. Mayorkas was asked to respond to criticism that the Biden administration’s border policies are partly to blame for Ms. Morin’s murder.

The homeland secretary expressed regret for the slaying but did not acknowledge any responsibility.

“First and foremost, of course, our hearts break for the children, the families, the loved ones, the friends of the individual who was murdered, the woman, the mother,” he said.

“A criminal is responsible for the criminal act. The criminal who committed this heinous act should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law, and forcefully so.”

From The Epoch Times