The Biden administration has pointedly refused to call the situation at the southern border a crisis, instead insisting it’s just a “challenge.” Yesterday, Townhall reporter Julio Rosas reported on audio of a recent meeting DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas held with Customs and Border Protection agents. Sec. Mayorkas was doing his best to empathize with the difficult situations CBP agents find themselves in but it sounds like the agents weren’t satisfied with his answers. One of them even turned his back on Mayorkas.
“I know the policies of this administration are not particularly popular with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, but that’s the reality and let’s see what we can do within that framework,” Mayorkas added.
An agent pressed Mayorkas on how DHS can reconcile saying border security is the main mission for Border Patrol, yet agents are unable to patrol the border due to the policies the Biden administration has in place. Border Patrol agents are being utilized to process the thousands of illegal immigrants…
According to sources present at the meeting and the audio recording, the agent who asked the question then turned his back on Mayorkas.
Another agent pointed out there was overcrowding at migrant processing centers and said it was “demoralizing” being the target of attacks from politicians when CBP agents frequently rescue migrants and save lives.
A third agent asked why so few people were being placed in the “Remain in Mexico” program, officially known as the Migrant Protection Protocols. The Biden administration tried to end that Trump-era program but a court made them reinstate it. However, last month fewer than 300 migrants were enrolled in MPP despite another increase in border encounters:
NEW: Updated DHS numbers show the Biden administration enrolled less than 300 migrants in MPP (Remain in Mexico) in December.
There were nearly 179,000 migrant encounters in December. @FoxNews https://t.co/yV1LGv5h9M
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) January 26, 2022
According to Mayorkas, that’s because the administration is still negotiating with Mexico. “The numbers are not where they need to be. I agree with that,” he said. Listening to the audio (which is embedded at the bottom of this story) Mayorkas admits that it’s a “very significant problem” that migrants can enter the country by claiming asylum and then the resolution of that case is “6 to 8 years later.” “That’s been the way it is for about 20, 25 years,” he said.
In other words, the huge backlog of cases creates a de facto way to game the US system. Mayorkas said the administration was working on creating a system that will reduce the processing of those cases down to six months from start to finish. He noted that while 85-90% of migrants pass the initial “credible fear” interview to claim asylum, only about 20 percent are eventually granted asylum by a judge. By speeding up the process, migrants wouldn’t, in theory, be able to enter the country for 6-8 years, at which point they will never leave regardless of what a judge eventually says about their case. It’s an admission that the current asylum system is broken.
Mayorkas even indicated some gaps in the border wall would be closed. His overall assessment of the situation was grim but accurate.
“Look, it’s worse now than it, frankly, has been in at least 20 years, if not ever,” Mayorkas said at another point in the meeting, regarding the overall situation at the border.
One exasperated agent told Mayorkas the situation in the Yuma Sector was much better under former President Donald Trump because “everyone was doing their jobs.”
It’s hard to tell from the exchanges whether the Biden administration actually plans to deal with this situation or if they are just doing their best to keep CBP agents working through the ongoing crisis. Between this and the secretive flights of migrants to New York, I get the impression the main goal is to keep the border off the front pages. As long as the media continues to ignore the situation, the administration considers it a success, regardless of what is actually happening on the ground.