CNN anchor Brianna Keilar confronted Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his refusal to say the U.S.-Mexico border was in crisis.
Mayorkas made a Tuesday appearance on CNN’s “New Day” to discuss the thousands of Haitian refugees joining the already record numbers coming across the southern border from South and Central America, and Keilar asked why he was unwilling to call the unprecedented situation a “crisis.” (RELATED: ‘Where Is She?’: MSNBC Anchor Tears Into ‘Border Czar’ Kamala Harris For Not Handling Border Crisis)
Mayorkas began by suggesting that those who had traveled to the border had been victimized by traffickers or people spreading misinformation.
“Vulnerable individuals, having been deceived by smuggling organizations and misinformation take the perilous journey north when we have been quite clear that it will not be successful, and that is not what they should do, it is heart breaking to see these individuals,” Mayorkas said. “It is a human tragedy. And we are addressing it as best we can under the laws that we are employing now.”
“This is really — this is something we haven’t seen before,” Keilar continued. “A — this camp inside of the United States, with thousands of people, what is the reticence to call something that is so clearly a crisis a crisis?”
“I call it a heartbreaking situation, a tremendous challenge,” Mayorkas pushed back, saying that the Biden Administration had a plan in place and was working to handle the situation.
“I want to be clear that we do have a plan to address it, respecting the needs of the individuals and we are executing on that plan,” he said.
“All right, Secretary, so much going —” Keilar began, but Mayorkas cut her off.
“If I may, I am very focused on the mission,” he said.
“Mission, and this issue, though, of semantics. It seems like that is something — go on,” Keilar pressed again.
“I’m not focused on the words that people employ,” Mayorkas insisted. “I’m focused on the needs of the migrants, the execution of our responsibilities, and addressing the situation under the bridge in del Rio. That is what I am focused on.”