After insisting there is no crisis at the border, the Biden Administration's Homeland Security Chief Alejandro Mayorkas this week acknowledged the surge of illegal immigrants is likely the worst in 20 years. Here’s what else he told Congress.
Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas: We have seen migration surges before, 2019 was extraordinary, 2014, and before then.
The February figures are in
There were about 142-thousand illegal border crossers:
More than 100-thousand Apprehensions
More than 13-thousand “Turned Back”
And Close to 27-thousand known as “Got Aways.”
So far, the numbers are even bigger in March. And no place is hit harder than Texas— where Democrat Congressman Henry Cuellar is sounding the alarm. And now he says the Biden Administration is thinking twice about rushing to dial back some of President Trump's get-tough policies. That includes Title 42 that turns back people at the border due to Covid.
Sharyl: Some of the concern is that there seems to be - at least border officials believe - that in the near future, that Title 42, that turns back people will be lifted. And all of those people will be admitted to the United States.
Rep. Henry Cuellar: It will be a mistake for the administration, and I've told them that, that it would be a mistake for them to allow people in without using title 42 because of the pandemic. So, I told them they should keep title 42, at least during the pandemic for a while. And also, the MPP, that is, can we process some of those people away from the border? And guess what? The Secretary now has said that they're going to be looking at some sort of processing centers in Mexico, but they need Mexico's help to process people before they come into the U S in my opinion, it's a modified version of the MPP.
Sharyl: So it's a little bit like what President Trump was doing?
Rep. Cuellar: Absolutely.
Sharyl: MPP is Migrant Protections Protocol, right? Which president Trump instituted that Mexico agreed to, to allow people applying for asylum to be held or to wait in Mexico for their court date?
Rep. Cuellar: That's correct. And I think that's the right way. I mean, what we need to do is instead of letting people coming in and wait for years before they get a court hearing, let them apply in their country or in another country before they come in. And I encourage them to do this because the message that's, that's been heard in central America, “Hey, they're going to let you in. They're going to let you in.” So, it's been turned around by the drug cartels because there's three messages that are down there. One: the administration, where they say, “Don't come now, come later,” First of all, that message is wrong. In my opinion, they ought to say, “Don't come here with, you know, not doing it the right way” message. Number two is what I call the friends, neighbors, family network that says, “Hey, guess what. Pedro or Maria, I got through, come over. You can come through. I just got through.” Number three is the criminal organizations that drug organizations are aggressively marketing. And I think this is the most powerful one because anytime they bring somebody over, they make an average of 6,000. But let's say a hundred thousand that we saw in February at $6,000. What does that add? Up? $600 million in one month that's, that's not bad profit. So, the ones who are really winning over this at the suffering of this young people and this migrants, other drug organizations.
Sharyl: There are some people who predicted that this would happen if the strong message wasn't sent not to come. Why wasn't this, do you think, not anticipated?
Rep. Cuellar: I think that's the, you know, the, a big question. Because within a week of the inauguration, I called my White House contact and I said, “This is what I'm seeing on the ground. We're seeing this numbers y'all need to pay attention.” And I understand they were in the middle of a transition. I understand that, but it's a message that people need to understand that there are powerful forces out there that make a lot of money that are always looking probing to see what the U.S. is going to do.
Sharyl (on-camera): Cuellar says 83-percent of February's illegal border crossers were single adults, mostly males, and most were turned back under Title 42 Covid provisions— for the moment.