Heritage Experts Fact-Check Mayorkas’ Dishonest, Misleading Statement on Border Crisis

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Heritage Experts Fact-Check Mayorkas’ Dishonest, Misleading Statement on Border Crisis

Mar 16, 2021 5 min read

WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas released a factually challenged and misleading statement about the crisis on the border. In a comprehensive response, Heritage Foundation immigration experts corrected the record on the various error-riddled claims made by Mayorkas:

Claim #1: “The expulsion of single adults does not pose an operational challenge for the Border Patrol…”
Rating: False

“One wonders if Mayorkas ran this line by the men and women of the Border Patrol before saying it publicly, because if he had, he would’ve been embarrassed to make such a claim. Our Border Patrol agents are apprehending 4,500-6,000 illegal aliens per day. Former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in 2019 that under the Obama administration, 1,000 apprehensions was a crisis. We are at six times this volume today, and to suggest that dealing with this massive increase is not an operational challenge for the Border Patrol is to deny not just reality, but basic math.” – Former Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan

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Claim #2: “We are expelling most...families.” 
Rating: False

“The administration is not utilizing all of its authorities with regards to the surge of family units. The facts tell us that the administration is not expelling ‘most’ families under Title 42 as they claim. According to DHS data, the administration expelled only 41% of family units in February, down from 76% in December under the Trump administration. Washington Post reporter Nick Miroff pointed out this fact just this week. This is important, as the smugglers and cartels will capitalize on this fact and continue to push family units across the border, knowing that a majority will remain.” – Former Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf

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Claim #3a: “We are not expelling unaccompanied children.”
Rating: False

“The administration is expelling UACs who are from Mexico every day. They have made a policy decision not to expel UACs from the Northern Triangle and the cartels and smugglers know this. The administration wants to have its cake and eat it, too, in wanting credit for supposedly treating unaccompanied minors more ‘humanely’ without any criticism for detention of increasing numbers of these minors.” – Former Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan

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Claim #3b: “We are encountering six- and seven-year-old children, for example, arriving at our border without an adult.” 
Rating: Misleading

“The Biden administration would have the American people believe most of the unaccompanied minors coming across the border are young children. This is false. The vast majority of UACs are between the ages of 15-17, with 75% over the age of 14. Many of these young people are coming to the border hoping to gain illegal entry into the U.S. for economic reasons. Minors should be treated humanely regardless of their age, but the administration’s reliance on trying to pull the heart-strings of Americans is just more evidence they are interested in manipulation, not facts.

“Mayorkas’ later accusation that the Trump administration put more children at risk for trafficking is mind-blowing, as the Biden administration’s undoing of Trump-era immigration policies has unleashed a historic flood of unaccompanied minors to the border, many of whom we know were trafficked or smuggled there. The Biden administration has empowered the cartels and human traffickers after President Trump severely cut their profit margins.” – Former Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan

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Claim #4: “Mexico does not have the capacity to receive families.” 
Rating: Misleading

“There are numerous misleading components to this answer. First, the surge in family units is a direct result of the Biden administration’s push for amnesty and undoing of effective Trump-era immigration policies. Mexico had been able to handle the return of family units under the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy. Second, Mexico is not the only country that can receive these illegal aliens, as they can be deported back to their country of origin. Third, the answer for Mexico is to help them build capacity – which both the State Department and other NGOs can help enable. The answer is not release illegal aliens and let them into the U.S., knowing that 90% will not qualify for asylum.” – Former Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf

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Claim #5: Reasons for the border crisis. 
Rating: Misleading

“DHS blames the Biden border crisis on violence in Northern Triangle countries, hurricanes, and the pandemic. To be clear, conditions are not so dramatically different in the Northern Triangle from years past to explain this historic surge.  Not once is responsibility taken for disastrous messaging and the removal of effective immigration policies without a clear plan in place. This is absurd. Monthly apprehensions nearly doubled between summer of 2020 and February 2021, because the Biden campaign and then the Biden administration was sending a clear signal to the world – if you arrive soon, you will receive amnesty.” –Former Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf

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Claim #6: “The prior administration completely dismantled the asylum system.” 
Rating: False  

“Mayorkas’ claims are simply false. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services hired approximately 500 additional asylum officers to advance the Trump administration’s priority of reducing the asylum backlog. The administration also shifted resources to prioritize the asylum backlog and those seeking protection at our own border. The Trump administration inherited a back-logged asylum system, and wisely chose to focus on reducing this backlog throughout his term. More individuals were granted asylum by DHS and DOJ during the four years of the Trump administration than under the last four years of the Obama administration. Total asylum grants in 2019 alone – 46,508 – were the highest annual total since at least 1990.” – Lora Ries, senior research fellow for homeland security & former acting DHS deputy chief of staff

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Claim #7: “The previous administration cut foreign aid funding to the Northern Triangle.” 
Rating: Misleading

“Under the Trump administration, we demanded results before handing over millions of dollars in foreign assistance funding. As a result, we signed over a dozen border security agreements and saw unprecedented cooperation and results from the Northern Triangle countries. These agreements helped slow the flow of illegal migrants through Central America, especially massive caravans, to our southern border. The administration also made millions in funding available to these governments.” – Former Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf

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Claim #8: “There was no appropriate planning for the pandemic at all.” 
Rating: False

“This statement is a slap in the face to the men and women at DHS, who worked tirelessly to put plans in place to deal with the challenge of a pandemic on top of keeping our immigration system running. We implemented extensive plans – to include vaccine distribution to frontline officers when the vaccine would be made available – to ensure our frontline workers would be protected. We worked with other federal agencies to ensure Title 42 would be available to our immigration enforcement officials. We knew that putting illegal aliens in crowded Border Patrol facilities during COVID was not the answer. Unfortunately, the Biden administration believes it is.  

“We provided the transition team with extensive briefings on the border and the tools we had in place to address illegal crossings. We warned them about the consequences of removing these policies. They heard it directly from CBP law enforcement officers. They heard that USBP stations did not have capacity, and they heard HHS did not have capacity. They knew it all and still rushed to dismantle the system for political reasons.” – Former Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf

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