Mayorkas admits to Congress that border is in ‘crisis’

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas relented for the first time while under oath before Congress that the southern border was in a state of “crisis,” an admission that shocked even Republicans.

Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) asked Mayorkas about the border during Mayorkas’s first appearance on Capitol Hill since being impeached in February and appeared stunned by his response.

“Mr. Secretary, you dance around calling the crisis at our southern border not only a humanitarian crisis but a crisis,” Hinson said during a House Appropriations Committee hearing Wednesday. “If you do not see it as that, why are you deploying our federal air marshals or FAMS to the southern border?”

“Congresswoman, I do understand the challenges at the border. I certainly don’t dance around them, as a matter of fact,” Mayorkas said.

“Would you call it at a crisis at the southern border?” Hinson interrupted.

“Yes, I would,” Mayorkas said. “And as a matter of fact, I work every single day with the men and women in the Department of Homeland Security to only strengthen the security of our southern border, as well as the northern border.”

In House and Senate hearings over the past three years, Mayorkas has refrained countless times from providing a “yes” or “no” answer to lawmakers’ questions about whether the record-high number of illegal immigrant arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border constitutes a “crisis.”

“I’m pleased to hear you call it a crisis,” Hinson said. “I think it’s the first time I’ve heard you publicly acknowledge it.”

Mayorkas first described the situation as a “crisis” during a Feb. 11 interview on NBC News’s Meet the Press.

“It certainly is a crisis,” Mayorkas told NBC News host Kristen Welker. “We don’t bear responsibility for a broken system. And we’re doing a tremendous amount within that broken system. But fundamentally, fundamentally, Congress is the only one who can fix that.”

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks at the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations on Capitol Hill on April 10, 2024. (Graeme Jennings/Washington Examiner)

Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS) reacted moments later and asked why Mayorkas had made the sudden admission now despite being asked many times in the past when the number of illegal immigrant arrests at the border was higher than they are at present, which he deemed a crisis.

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“I’ve heard you repeatedly say this is not a crisis and that the border is secure. I think this is the first time that you said that,” Guest said. “I know that the president said that I believe in January — that not only did he say the border wasn’t secure, he said it hadn’t been secured in a decade, which would have been during the entire time in which he has been president and including time in which he was vice president in the Obama administration.”

Mayorkas told Guest that “it was not the first time that I’d used that terminology,” a reference to his statement on NBC News.

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