Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas claimed Monday that there is not “a crisis at the border,” and sought to “communicate” to migrants seeking protection in the U.S. that they “are working around the clock” to “deliver a safe and orderly process to them as quickly as possible.”
Mayorkas joined White House press secretary Jen Psaki at the daily White House press briefing and answered questions from reporters about processing migrants at the border, as well as if the state of the border constituted “a crisis.” (RELATED: ‘That’s Not What’s Happening’: Jen Psaki Gets Testy With NBC Reporter Over Migrant Children In Detention Facilities)
“In but a few weeks, we already have designed an innovative program to bring people in through the ports of entry … And, we have already begun to implement it. We are progressing every single day,” Mayorkas responded when asked a question about “rebuilding” DHS processes at the border.
He went on to say that he doesn’t have a particular timeline but that he can “communicate” to the “individuals seeking protection” that they are working to make the timeframe they have to wait “as short as possible.”
“We are not saying don’t come, we are saying don’t come now, because we will be able to deliver a safe and orderly process to them as quickly as possible,” he added.
Later in the press briefing a reporter asked Mayorkas if believed that there is currently a crisis at the border.
“The answer is no,” he responded.
He then explained that he thinks there is “a challenge at the border” that the administration is “managing.”
The reporter then listed the number of unaccompanied migrant children expected to cross the border in the coming months and asked Mayorkas what was being done to implement the processes Mayorkas mentioned earlier in the briefing.
“The men and women of the Department of Homeland Security are working around the clock, seven days a week, to ensure that we do not have a crisis at the border, that we manage the challenge as acute as the challenge is, and they’re not doing it alone,” Mayorkas said. “This is a challenge that the border communities, the non governmental organizations, the people who care for individuals seeking humanitarian relief, all understand that it is imperative. Everyone understands what occurred before us what we need to do now, and we’re getting it done.”
The reporter responded by pointing out that one of Mayorkas’ predecessors, Jeh Johnson, said that “1,000 illegal border crossings a day overwhelms the system.” She added that now the U.S. is seeing between 3,000 and 4,000 a day. “How is this not a crisis?” she asked.
“I have explained that quite clearly. We are challenged at the border. The men and women of the Department of Homeland Security are meeting that challenge. It is a stressful challenge, and that is why, quite frankly, we are working as hard as we are, not only in addressing the urgency of the challenge but also in building the capacity to manage it, and to meet our humanitarian aspirations and execution of the president’s vision,” Mayorkas concluded.