Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas blamed former President Donald Trump’s administration for the record rise of border crossings occurring during the Biden administration.
“Tragically, former President Trump slashed our international assistance to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Slashed the resources that we were contributing to address the root causes of a rate of irregular migration,” Mayorkas said Thursday in Texas, pointing out several “reasons for the rise in migrant encounters at the Southern border.”
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Mayorkas went on to say that the current White House ended “the cruel policies of the past administration” and restored “the rule of laws of this country that Congress has passed” as another reason for the spike in immigration, as well as the “the resurgence of the economy in the United States, and the gleam of the American promise once again.”
“We’re facing a serious challenge at our Southern Border, and the challenge is of course made more acute, more difficult because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also been made more difficult because of the, of the fact that the prior administration dismantled our asylum system. Nevertheless, we meet challenges,” he added.
Critics slammed Mayorkas for the comments, with many characterizing them as dishonest, while another critic on Twitter said he must think voters are “dumb” and another quipped they were “impressed” the secretary “actually kept a straight face saying this.”
In leaked audio, Mayorkas was also heard telling Border Patrol agents at the McAllen station in the Rio Grande Valley on Thursday he knows “very well” how “close we came to breaking” in that sector.
“A couple of days ago I was down in Mexico, and I said look, you know, if, if our borders are the first line of defense, we’re going to lose and this is unsustainable,” he added in the leaked audio. “We can’t continue like this, our people in the field cant continue and our system isn’t built for it.”
The White House referred Fox News to DHS for comment on the leaked audio. The department did not immediately respond to Fox News’s inquiry.
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Mayorkas announced on Thursday that migrant encounters increased by 13% in July, with 212,672 encounters compared to June’s 188,000 migrant encounters. Under the Trump administration in July of last year, there were just 40,929 encounters.
Mayorkas previously blamed the Trump administration for the surge in migrants back in March.
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“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 at the time. “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.”
Trump, meanwhile, has repeatedly slammed the Biden administration’s handling of the border crisis, including this spring when he said “it could destroy our country if it keeps going.”
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“He didn’t discuss the border and the fact that tens of thousands of people are pouring into our country, many of them criminals, many of them people from jails, many of them doing acts that you don’t even want to know about,” Trump said of Biden’s address to Congress in April.