“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace confronted DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on the “flood” of migrants coming across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Mayorkas argued during a Sunday morning interview that illegal immigration was a problem that had spanned administrations of both parties, but Wallace pushed back, saying that by the numbers, things had gotten worse under President Joe Biden’s watch. (RELATED: ‘Isn’t That The Exact Opposite Of Follow The Science?’: Chris Wallace Presses NIH Director On Biden’s Rush To Secure COVID-19 Boosters)
“Removal proceedings, including asylum cases, can take anywhere from six months to several years, and 44%, according to the Department of Justice, 44% of those who are released into custody – from custody – miss their court hearings,” Wallace began, asking Mayorkas to address what would happen to those who were given a court date and released into the United States.
“Just as a matter of reality, won’t many of those thousands of people end up settling here in the United States, some of them permanently?” he asked.
“Chris, we have enforcement guidelines in place that provide that individuals who are recent border crossers who do not show up for their hearings are enforcement priorities, and will be removed,” Mayorkas replied.
Wallace pushed back, asking how that was enforced when some of them had disappeared into the country.
“It is our intention to remove them, that is what our policies are, and we deploy our enforcement resources according to certain priorities to ensure the safety and security of the American people,” Mayorkas continued.
“But sir, there are more than 11 million people in this country illegally. Clearly, despite your best efforts, millions of people end up in this country and don’t – just disappear,” Wallace objected.
Mayorkas argued that was simply proof that the immigration system was broken and in need of legislative reform.
Wallace then pivoted to the situation in Del Rio, Texas, where thousands of migrants had crossed a dam into the United States and congregated under a bridge.
“Hasn’t this administration created a magnet?” Wallace asked, pressing Mayorkas on Biden’s immigration policies. “Haven’t you given them a reason to believe there’s a reasonable chance if they come into this country, they will end up being released into the country and have months or perhaps years to stay here?”
Mayorkas continued to push back, saying that there had been similar surges at the border in 2019 and even prior to that.
“It has gotten worse. The statistics of your own department show that the flood of people coming illegally across the border has gotten worse under the Biden administration,” Wallace continued.
“I wouldn’t call it a flood, if I may,” Mayorkas objected, prompting Wallace to ask, “What would you call it?”
“We have seen large numbers of individuals encountered at our border making a claim for asylum, for humanitarian relief,” Mayorkas said, repeating his claim that similar surges had come to the border in years past under both Republican and Democratic administrations.
“You say 30,000 people walked across that dam into Del Rio in the last 17 days. Question: Why didn’t you stop them?” Wallace pressed again.
“We encounter them at the border. That’s where we encounter them, Chris,” Mayorkas replied.
“Why didn’t you stop them from coming into the country?” Wallace asked.
“We did,” Mayorkas insisted. “We encountered them, they gathered – they assembled in that one location in Del Rio, Texas, and we applied the laws. We applied the public health law under the CDC’s authority, and we applied immigration –”
Wallace did not let the question go, asking again, “My question is why did you allow them in the country in the first place? Why didn’t you build, forgive me, a wall or a fence to stop them from walking – the flood of people coming across the dam, it looks like a highway that allows them to cross the Rio Grande.”
“It is the policy of this administration, we do not agree with the building of the wall,” Mayorkas insisted, adding that allowing individuals to make their claims for humanitarian relief was “one of our proudest traditions.”