Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas gave an odd definition of what he considers a "secure border" during a Sunday interview on NBC.
"It is, in the context in which we are working, it is maximizing the resources that we have available to us to deliver the most effective results," Mayorkas said after NBC host Chuck Todd asked him to define the term. Mayorkas has consistently maintained throughout his tenure in the Biden administration that the border is secure, even as there have been record numbers of illegal border crossings and drug smuggling.
As the administration is poised to end Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that allows agents to turn migrants away at the border, Mayorkas is moving to enact new policies that would expand the number of migrants allowed into the United States. Those policies would include increasing the number of available applications for entry into the country through the CBP One App, allowing family members from four Central and South American countries to reunite with migrants in the United States, and doubling the number of refugees allowed into the country from the Western Hemisphere.
Mayorkas's defense of the border's security under his tenure comes as Democrats have described the situation as a crisis. The Democratic mayor of El Paso, Texas, on Monday ordered a state of emergency to prepare for a potential surge of migrants when Title 42 expires on May 11.
The secretary has often claimed the border is secure, even as border agents have frequently encountered migrants deemed security threats illegally crossing the border. Agents have apprehended at least 69 people on the terror watch list in this fiscal year, which is on pace to beat 2022’s total of 98. Only eight individuals on that list were caught between 2017 and 2020.
Mayorkas during the Sunday interviewed refused to comment on the immigration status of Francisco Oropesa, who is the subject of a manhunt in Texas after he was accused of killing five neighbors, including an eight-year-old. Oropesa, a Mexican national, was in the country illegally and had been deported five times.