On August 2, Alejandro Mayorkas will have officially served as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security for six months. In this short timeframe, Mayorkas has systematically erased our nation’s border security, causing record levels of illegal immigration, illicit drug flows and deaths. Mayorkas’ dereliction of his duty to safeguard the health and security of the American people means he must be removed from his position immediately.
In just six months, illegal immigration has not only soared under the leadership of the secretary, but has broken numerous records with no end in sight. In June, more than 188,000 illegal aliens were apprehended at the southern border — the highest total for the month in 21 years.
And June was not an anomaly. Under Mayorkas, illegal immigration has increased at the southern border for five consecutive months. Apprehensions this fiscal year have already surpassed one million and are on pace to exceed all annual fiscal records dating back to at least FY 2000.
These figures do not account for “got aways” or those who sneak across the border and are no longer actively pursued by Border Patrol due to lack of resources. Some officials say this figure is reaching 1,000 per day under this administration. So, in essence, illegal immigration totals seen under Mayorkas are likely much worse that what is being recorded on paper.
While illegal immigration remains a significant problem under Mayorkas’ reckless leadership, illicit drugs and migrant deaths are surging as the world has learned that southern border is porous as ever.
The smuggling of drugs including fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine have all surged since February when Mayorkas was sworn into his position. In June, immigration authorities witnessed a 33% increase in both fentanyl and methamphetamine and a nearly 40% increase in heroin seizures since February. These trends are occurring because Mayorkas helped halt all southern border wall construction, leaving huge stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border wide open for drug smuggling.
These startling trends are happening as Border Patrol agents have found it necessary to focus their attention on the humanitarian needs of migrants — especially children — who have traveled thousands of miles by foot, responding to messages from Mayorkas such as “We are not saying don’t come. We are saying don’t come now.”
This messaging has contributed to the tragic deaths of at least 203 migrants near the U.S.-Mexico border since the beginning of the fiscal year. The number of migrant deaths could exceed what was seen in all of FY 2020, and at least three of the nine southwestern border sectors have already surpassed the total for the previous fiscal year.
Many of these migrants are likely trying to take advantage of Secretary Mayorkas’ immigration policies and promises. One of these policies is known as “catch and release,” an Obama-era policy in which recently apprehended migrants are released into communities with court documents called “notices to appear” rather than placed in detention.
Currently, illegal aliens are asked to turn themselves in to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at a later date after being apprehended at the southern border. According to data from members of Congress and from ICE, the appearance rate is less than 25%, meaning the vast majority of illegal aliens — many of whom possess a criminal history — are disappearing into the interior without a trace. The policy is undoubtedly a “pull” factor.
Some apprehended migrants are given ankle monitors for tracking and check-in purposes, but they have become heavily depleted due to the record numbers of illegal aliens arriving at the southern border thanks to Mayorkas’ policies. Cell phones with GPS capabilities are now expected to replace the unavailable ankle monitors, according to a groundbreaking report from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) source speaking on the condition of anonymity, revealing the gravity of the situation.
Despite this information, Mayorkas had indicated no desire to end these catch and release policies. In 2021, $440 million was allocated to ICE’s ineffective Alternatives to Detention program — a nearly 200% increase from 2020.
It only took six months for Mayorkas to end the strongest and most effective border policies the country had ever seen. Illegal immigration continues to surge with no end in sight, with many dying on the dangerous trek to the U.S.-Mexico border. Harmful drugs continue to pour across the southern border and will end up negatively affecting nearly every town, city, and state in the country. Catch and release policies have proliferated and have compromised the rule of law, public safety resources, and security for Americans. The data does not lie: Alejandro Mayorkas has proven that he is incapable of protecting the homeland and must be removed from his position immediately.
Matthew Tragesser is press secretary at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in Washington D.C.