In an extraordinary series of answers to pointed questions from Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas insisted that America's southern border is "secure," and that the current crisis -- which the White House still won't explicitly acknowledge -- is completely unrelated to the Biden administration's policies and rhetoric. In fact, he repeatedly claimed, the present troubles are the fault of the Trump administration. This is the same man who dangerously encouraged illegal immigration on national television last week, announcing that migrant children who arrive in the US will be allowed to stay. That message, and others, have evidently been clearly received, and the inevitable results are now playing out. Here's the video, then let's examine several of these claims in detail:
(1) "The border is secure." This is preposterous. Read this recent on-the-ground report from Julio, who witnessed hundreds of illegal immigrants entering the country in a matter of hours. US officials apprehended more than 100,000 illegal immigrants in the month of February alone, and many others crossed into America without being caught. The Washington Post and Fox News have reported that the Border Patrol has counted approximately 1,000 single-day "got-aways" entering US territory through the southern border within individual 24-hour periods -- a figure that only entails known cases in which illegal immigrants were spotted but not detained. The border is not secure, and illegal immigration is being actively incentivized by the new administration.
(2) Mayorkas told Wallace, with a straight face, that there is no connection between the Biden administration's policies and the mushrooming crisis at the border. This is ludicrous. Illegal immigrants are openly telling journalists that Biden's rhetoric and policies encouraged them to cross the border, some wearing Biden t-shirts. Migrants chanted Biden's name after he won the election. It's not subtle:
"The message is that this border’s open for business and you can come across and if you get across there will be no consequences, that's the message we hear,” says a local Sheriff. The Washington Post reported last month, "Federal agents have taken into custody more than 70,000 migrants a month for each of the past four months, the most for that period in at least 10 years." Those last four months were November, December, January and February -- also known as the month Biden won the presidency through his first full month in office. This is not a coincidence. Mayorkas emphasized that the current unlawful migration increase began last spring, in an effort to lay this at the feet of the Trump administration. But the New York Times -- which also fact-checked various blame-shifting assertions by senior Biden officials, including Mayorkas, as "misleading" and "false" -- notes the relevant timeline on accompanied minors:
Border Patrol agents encountered unaccompanied children at the southwestern border 741 times in April 2020, the lowest monthly level in a decade. That number did gradually increase over the last few months of Mr. Trump’s presidency. But in February, Border Patrol agents recorded more than 9,400 encounters with unaccompanied children, a 61 percent increase since January, a 170 percent increase from February 2020 and the highest number since May 2019.
Unaccompanied illegal immigrant children were encountered by US authorities at a decade-low rate last April, then "gradually" increased over "the last few months" of President Trump's term. Even if we concede that some of this marginal uptick occurred on Trump's watch, the last few months of his term coincided with the period of time in which President-elect Biden was waiting to take over the reins of power. Once Biden was sworn in, the problem absolutely exploded. That's the data.
(3) Beyond the howler that the Biden-created incentives aren't at all connected to this enormous in-flow of illegal immigration, Mayorkas is pretending that President Trump is responsible for the mess that has ballooned because of Biden's actions and words. He repeatedly mischaracterized what 'safe third country' agreements entail, suggesting that migrants would be forced to remain in the nations where they claim their lives are in danger (reminder: 70 to 80 percent of asylum requests are rejected, as a great many are bogus. Also, a substantial percentage of overall non-detained illegal immigrants fail to show up for scheduled court dates). In reality, 'safe third party' accords "made it possible to divert asylum-seekers to Central American countries other than their own, where they could apply for protection" (emphasis mine). Biden scrapped these hard-fought deals with northern triangle governments, as well as getting rid of the crucial "remain in Mexico" policy that hugely alleviated the strain on our system and personnel. With those succeeding policies foolishly thrown out, chaos has ensued, with American resources completely overwhelmed.
That's why the Biden administration is turning convention centers into makeshift facilities, renting out huge blocks of hotel rooms, and contemplating relocating thousands of migrants to the northern border -- all while denying media access to cover what's happening. Mayorkas blamed the opacity-driven cover-up efforts on COVID, but that excuse makes no sense. The US government can shove thousands of illegal immigrants into crowded indoor facilities (with significant positive COVID cases, reportedly), but a single press pool camera cannot be allowed inside to document the conditions? Reporters cannot accompany agents on border ride alongs, and local officials are being instructed to refer relevant inquiries to Washington...because of COVID? Nonsense. Mayorkas wants viewers to believe that Biden's border crisis has nothing to do with Biden, and everything to do with Trump 'dismantling' effective border policies. The exact opposite is much closer to the truth. I'll leave you with more tidbits about the unsustainable status quo the Biden administration has wrought and is trying to shield from the press, while struggling to even admit that the crisis exists, let alone take responsibility for it:
100 kids in a room. Mattresses just inches from one another. 200+ border agents diverted to care for children. 35 cases of coronavirus detected at one HHS facility. Senators describe conditions for children arriving alone at the border: https://t.co/AWHE6SJO3X— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) March 21, 2021
AP: Safety concerns at child detention facility in TX, where 10% of detainees have tested positive for COVID. Biden administration won't answer local officials' Q's. NBC has also reported on the administration blocking media access to 'kids in cages.' https://t.co/hsAKZ3v8AF pic.twitter.com/2856ChQXsQ— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) March 19, 2021
And you know there's a problem for Democrats when the media can't spin things for them:
UPDATE - Byron York explains additional elements of why Mayorkas' claims are unsupported by facts.