Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Sunday that he has no immediate plans to fly migrants to the northern U.S. border for processing to grapple with the surge from Mexico and Central America, but that “all options are on the table.”
“We don’t have those plans in place now, but what we are doing is we are putting all options on the table as it is our responsibility to do, and we are implementing those options that will both service our legal obligations and our humanitarian values and principles,” Mr. Mayorkas said on CNN’s “State of the Union.
His comment came in response to a Friday report in The Washington Post that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has requested planes to transport the migrants to stations near Canada as thousands of arrivals threaten to overwhelm the southern processing facilities.
Mr. Mayorkas declined to say when journalists would be allowed to visit border patrol operations, citing the pandemic and “crowded” facilities after being pressed by CNN host Dana Bash, who noted that the Trump administration opened the facilities to reporters.
“We are in the midst of a pandemic,” Mr. Mayorkas said. “We are dealing with crowded border patrol facilities, we are focused on our operations and the needs of the children, and at the same time, we are working to provide access to those border patrol facilities when we can do so in a safe manner.”
The Biden administration has been accused of creating a crisis by encouraging migrants to make their way to the border, but Mr. Mayorkas continued to blame former President Trump for the fraught situation.
“It is taking time and it is difficult because the entire system was dismantled by the prior administration,” Mr. Mayorkas said. “There was a system in place in both Republican and Democratic administrations that was torn down during the Trump administration, and that is why the challenge is more acute than it ever has been before.”
Asked if the Biden administration should have waited until facilities were in place, Mr. Mayorkas said that “we are working on parallel streams” to care for unaccompanied children and “rebuilding the orderly systems that the Trump administration tore down.”
He also insisted that the border patrol is expelling families and single adults while urging children not to come until the border patrol has built “an orderly system that will enable you to make your claim under United States law without taking the journey and imperiling your lives.”
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