After more than a year, Mayorkas finally asks migrants not to jump the border

After more than a year, Mayorkas finally asks migrants not to jump the border
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has a message for all of the migrants moving north through Mexico with plans to illegally cross the border into the United States. Go home. Don’t come to the American border. If you do, most of you will be turned away or sent back to your countries of origin. He delivered that message yesterday, apparently in response to the flood of migrants who believe that Title 42 will soon be lifted and their path into the United States will be even easier than it is now. He went on to say that “U.S. borders are not open.” It’s a good message and I applaud him for saying it, but it should still leave us with a few questions. What took him so long? And does he really mean it? (The Hill)

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday discouraged immigrants from coming to the U.S. border “only to be sent back,” echoing a sentiment he and other leaders have previously voiced.

“Individuals and families should not put their lives at risk by taking the dangerous journey only to be sent back,” he said in a video shared to Twitter by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday.

His statement comes just days after a judge in Louisiana temporarily blocked the Biden administration from lifting Title 42, a Trump-era immigration policy that allows for the speedy expulsion of foreign nationals at the border under pandemic conditions.

The DHS statement went even further. “The restrictions at our southwest border have not changed,” Mayorkas said. “Single adults and families encountered will continue to be expelled, where appropriate, under Title 42, and those who are unable to establish a legal basis to remain will be removed.”

Really? Is that our policy? Because it sure hasn’t looked that way for the past fifteen months. In fact, your boss signed an executive order preventing most deportations and we’ve seen buses and planes filled with migrants without “a legal basis to remain” showing up in towns and cities across the country. And members of your party in Congress are still hammering away trying to pass a law that would give them all protected status and a path to citizenship.

The Biden border crisis has been ongoing since the day the President was sworn into office. Mayorkas has never seemed overly concerned about this until now. So why the change of heart? Perhaps Biden’s staff has noticed that he is currently about as popular as a root canal with nearly 70% of the country and one of the many factors driving those numbers is the crisis on the southern border.

Do either Joe Biden or Alejandro Mayorkas honestly think that this public service announcement will actually convince anyone to turn around and go home? Children are still showing up at the crossings wearing their “Biden, Please Let Us In” t-shirts. (I’d still love to know who had those printed and has been handing them out in Mexico.) Those armies of migrants crashing across the border in record numbers are here because this administration effectively invited them to come. Withdrawing the invitation isn’t likely to have much of an impact.

Of course, actions speak louder than words. Let’s give Mayorkas the benefit of the doubt and watch to see what he does. If he restarts construction on the border wall in the most heavily trafficked regions, increases funding for the CBP, and actually starts shipping people home in significant numbers, I will be among the first to sing his praises. But given the track record that’s been established thus far, let’s just say I won’t be holding my breath.

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