Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a new interview that the number of people arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border has reached an “extraordinary height.”
“The number of people that are arriving at our border is at an extraordinary height. There is no question about that,” Mayorkas told Sharyn Alfonsi in a forthcoming episode of “60 Minutes.”
“But that is not unique to the southern border of the United States,” he continued. “There is tremendous amount of movement throughout the hemisphere, and in fact throughout the world.”
Mayorkas has faced intense criticism from Republican lawmakers over his handling of the southern border, with some calling for his impeachment.
“I think that we face a very serious challenge in certain parts of the border,” the Homeland Security secretary acknowledged in the “60 Minutes” interview.
However, he declined to call the situation a crisis, as many GOP lawmakers have described it.
“I have tremendous faith in the people of the Department of Homeland Security, and a crisis speaks to me of a withdrawal from our mission,” Mayorkas said. “And we are only putting more force and more energy into it.”
Encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border increased substantially under President Biden, with Customs and Border Patrol reporting nearly 2.4 million encounters from October 2021 through September 2022.
However, the Biden administration’s new asylum policies aimed at discouraging Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan migrants from traveling through Mexico seem to have eased the influx slightly. Between December and January, encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border dropped by nearly 100,000.