Alejandro Mayorkas defends handling of unaccompanied minors at border

Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Mayorkas defended the Biden government’s response to an increase in the number of unaccompanied migrant children who arrived at the southern border in a series of interviews on Sunday.

“The border is closed,” Mayorkas said on NBC News’ Meet the Press. The secretary noted that the administration “is evicting families. We are executing single adults. And we have made a decision that we will not evict young vulnerable children.”

Since November, unaccompanied migrant children have been allowed to enter the USA and receive a deportation hearing, during which they can apply for legal status. The Trump administration was forced to conduct this process after a judge found the required provision to be necessary. This policy decided the Biden administration to continue.

In the first few weeks of the new administration, the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the US-Mexico border increased. Many of the children are fleeing instability and violence in Central American countries. Most are being placed in border custody, largely overwhelmed by the steady increase in arrivals.

By March 20, the number of migrants held in the United States had reached 15,000. according to CBS News.

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Critics have argued that the surge in migrants was the result of changing the tone and policies of the Biden government. Mayorkas, Who said the wave of unaccompanied migrant children could be the largest in 20 years?has pushed back such characterizations, blaming the Trump administration for the problems facing the country’s immigration processing system.

“Trump has dismantled the orderly, humane and efficient way children can make claims under US law in their home countries,” Mayorkas told NBC News, adding that the administration now has these “orderly and safe processes rebuilds as quickly as possible. “

Mayorkas reiterated that the administration was working on it restore the Central American Minors Program, a government process that enables young people in violent situations to apply for asylum while they are still in custodytheir home countries and then admitted to the US through secure channels.

“In the meantime, we are not being deported to the Mexican desert, for example three orphaned children I have seen in the past two weeks. We just are not going to do that. We are not,” said the secretary.

On Fox News Sunday Mayorkas said the Biden administration had replaced Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy with a “safe and orderly triage system that works with our partners in Mexico and humanitarian organizations in the international arena” and emphasized again that the border was closed.

“We are a nation of laws and we treat vulnerable children humanely. We can do it. And we do it,” Mayokras told Fox anchor Chris Wallace.

President Joe Biden and his aides have been harshly criticized from across the political spectrum for handling the surge on the border. what some now call a crisis.

Progressives and supporters of immigration rights have criticized the government for opening additional facilities for housing and processing migrant children under customs and border protection. The facilities were described as unsafeand crowded.

Meanwhile, The Republicans have stuck to Biden’s immigration policy, long the cornerstone of former President Donald Trump’s political platform, as a political stick.

President Biden to potential migrants:Don’t come to the US in the middle of the flood on the southern border

“It’s more than a crisis. This is a human heartbreak,” said Kevin McCarthy, minority chairman of the House of Representatives, during a trip with fellow GOP House members to the US-Mexico border. “The sad thing about all of this is that it didn’t have to happen.”

Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Criticized “the nonsense that made the border with Biden” on Fox News Sunday in a segment after Mayorkas’ interview with the news show.

“He’s basically saying the United States won’t secure our border, and that’s a big welcome sign for migrants from around the world,” argued Cotton.

Mayorkas pushed back to such characterizations.

“We process the children who come to our limit, safely. We push hard and the message is clear not to do this now,” Mayorkas told NBC. “I cannot exaggerate the dangers of the journey you are making.”

When asked about CNN’s State of the Union on whether the government would fly unaccompanied migrant children to the northern border for faster processing, Mayorkas said, “We don’t have these plans in place right now, but we’re doing everything we canOptions on the table.”

On March 13, the DHS announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would provide assistance at the border. At the time, Mayorkas said the move should “use every option available to quickly expand physical capacity for adequate accommodation”.

The federal government is also planning to open another facility in Pecos, Texas, to house unaccompanied migrant children to help control their swelling numbers. according to NBC News.

When Mayorkas was pressured about conditions in border guards on CNN, he admitted that conditions were “overcrowded” for children before they were moved to facilities managed by the Department of Health and Human Services. And Mayorkas said that while unaccompanied migrant children will be tested for the coronavirus and given the opportunity to practice social distancing in HHS facilities, such measures will not be taken while in border control custody.

The government has not allowed media into the border facilities to monitor conditions, a move that has been criticized by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers. But Mayorkas denied that there was a “gag order” preventing federal agencies from allowing the news media to survey the facilities.

“Let me be clear, we’re in the middle of the pandemic. We’re talking about an overcrowded Border Guard where we focus on operations,” Mayorkas said on ABC News This Week when asked why agencies were doing this It is not permitted for external observers to enter facilities.

The secretary said the administration was “working on a plan to allow access so people can see what is going on at a border guard” and noted thisreporterwere already able to monitor HHS facilities, although he did not provide a schedule for when they might see the Border Patrol locations that handle a large proportion of unaccompanied minors.


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