ROMA, Texas—Customs and Border Protection officials and Department of Homeland Security staffers ripped DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s immigration plan as unserious and ill-equipped to handle the unprecedented surge of migrants on the border.
"I don't even know where to start," said one Border Patrol officer stationed along the southwest border, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly. "Nothing in this plan Mayorkas says he’s going to do has even been started, and he’s not going to do it anyway."
Mayorkas released a 20-page report on Tuesday entitled "DHS Plan for Southwest Border Security and Preparedness" the night before he testified in front of Congress on the Biden administration’s handling of the border crisis. The report outlines six initiatives the agency is taking to stem the "increase in migration being experienced by the United States" and prioritizes migrant processing over border security.
But those with decades of experience working in immigration expressed skepticism at—or outright mocked—the plan in comments to the Washington Free Beacon. Their reactions demonstrate how Mayorkas has lost the faith of career personnel, many of whom complained of long hours and staffing problems.
"The plan looks like an absolute load of bullshit," said one senior DHS staffer. "Mayorkas is filled with excuses and his solution is to let them in. If you look at the plan there is an inordinate amount of focus on processing ‘vulnerable migrants’ compared to the lip service of securing the border. This administration has always been set to release as many migrants as possible and then make excuses as to why illegal aliens continue invading our country."
Mayorkas’s solutions to the crisis include providing migrants with "an updated information package to distribute to all noncitizens released from federal custody." Mayorkas also blamed Title 42, a federal law that gave immigration authorities power to rapidly deport migrants during a public health crisis, for exacerbating the migrant crisis by claiming it encouraged illegal crossings outside of legal ports of entry.
Both lines earned criticism from Michael Salinas, a former Border Patrol agent who was stationed for more than 30 years on the southern border.
"How naïve do you have to be to actually believe this? No illegal in my experience had ever planned to show up at the ports of entry to get processed," said Salinas. "All aliens are well aware that crossing the river will be the best course of action for results."
Mayorkas also championed "critical reforms that ended cruel and unjust policies of the prior administration," such as changing who is prioritized for deportation, as well as "new guidelines regarding immigration enforcement priorities" in his report.
All of the officials who spoke with the Free Beacon concluded that Mayorkas’s plan will result in the same conduct since Biden first took office: rapid processing and release of migrants. They pointed to Mayorkas’s "Border Security Pillar 2," which highlights CBP’s "processing efficiency and moving with deliberate speed" as an example of the administration’s commitment to so-called catch and release — the practice where illegal immigrants are processed by law enforcement officials and released into the country's interior before their court date.
"This administration has gutted immigration enforcement at every opportunity and is sending the message that America's laws are to be ignored," said Jon Feere, a former senior adviser at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and director of investigations at the Center for Immigration Studies. "The humanitarian disaster they've created is intentional."
During his congressional testimony Wednesday morning, Mayorkas claimed DHS has already "effectively managed an unprecedented number of noncitizens seeking to enter the United States." Last year, migrant apprehensions topped two million—the highest on record.
Immigration authorities have encountered more than 900,000 migrants in the 2022 fiscal year, with internal DHS numbers predicting more than 2.3 million by 2023. Immigration authorities on the southwest border are preparing for upward of 18,000 daily known crossings after Title 42’s repeal next month, more than twice the average daily crossings in July 2021.
"Mayorkas needs drug testing because I swear he’s high," another senior DHS official said. "His plan, in my professional opinion, is hardly a ‘plan’ so much as a fantastical work of fiction with some gaslighting for good measure."