Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas told “Fox News Sunday” that the influx of migrants crossing the border is due to the Trump administration’s actions, not policy changes that took place in the early days of President Biden‘s administration.
Mayorkas made the comment moments before a South American migrant who recently crossed the U.S.-Mexico border told ABC “This Week” anchor Martha Raddatz that he did so “basically” because Joe Biden was elected president and would not have tried to cross under former President Donald Trump.
Asked whether he wanted to revise his earlier remark in light of the widely circulated interview, Mayorkes’ office chose not to address it, emphasizing instead his initial remarks where he stressed the U.S.-Mexico Border’s “closed status.”
“Chris, we do expel families. We are working with Mexico to increase Mexico’s capacity to receive the expelled families,” Mayorkes told Fox News host Chris Wallace earlier Sunday. “The border is secure, the border is closed. We’ve been unequivocal in that and we are operationalizing our processes, executing our plans, we are a nation of laws and we treat vulnerable children humanely,” he said. “We can do it and we are doing it.”
Biden has scrapped a number of Trump’s policies which included having asylum seekers remain in Mexico instead of staying in the U.S. while they wait for their cases to be heard. Despite this, Mayorkas denied that Biden’s changes have encouraged the current migrant surge.
“What we are seeing is the result of President Trump’s dismantlement of the safe and orderly immigration processes that were built over many, many years by presidents of both parties,” Mayorkas said. “That’s what we are seeing, and that’s why it’s taking time for us to execute our plans to administer the humanitarian claims of vulnerable children. That’s what this is about.”
The unidentified migrant featured in the ABC interview spoke with Raddatz at the border in Tucson, Arizona, saying he traveled from Brazil to Mexico with his wife and their three kids with the hope of entering the U.S.
“Would you have tried to do this when Donald Trump was president?” Raddatz asks the man in a clip aired Sunday and tweeted by Steve Guest, a special advisor to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
“Definitely not,” replies the migrant, who asked that his face not be shown.
“Did you come here because Joe Biden was elected president?” Raddatz asks.
“Basically,” he says.
In another clip, a migrant who traveled from Guatemala with her 10-year-old son tells Raddatz in Juarez, Mexico, that she made the trip now because “Biden promised that we could cross with minors.”
Trump took aim at what he called Mayorkas’ “pathetic, clueless performance” on Sunday night, writing in a statement that even someone of Mayorkas’ limited abilities should understand that if you provide Catch-and-Release to the world’s illegal aliens then the whole world will come.”
The White House could not immediately be reached for comment.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.