A federal judge’s decision to block the Biden administration from carrying out parts of its latest immigration plan is “very harmful,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said.
In Florida, U.S. District Judge T. Kent Wetherell ordered the federal government to stand down from its proposed move to “parole” migrants crossing the southern border through Texas, siding with state lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration. The move came hours before Title 42, which has allowed the government to turn away millions of asylum seekers in recent years, expired at midnight.
When asked about the impact the decision could have, Mayorkas called it a “very harmful ruling, attacking a practice that prior administrations have used,” while speaking on MSNBC Friday morning.
The Justice Department is “considering its options,” he added, after being asked if the administration will appeal the decision.
When the emergency health authority expired, Mayorkas attempted to quell concerns that the situation would worsen: “The border is not open. … Together with our partners throughout the federal government and Western Hemisphere, we are prepared for this transition,” he said in a statement.
There are 24,000 Border Patrol personnel along with thousands of troops and contractors to assist, he added.
The DHS secretary has come under fire during his tenure for an increase in illegal border crossings. Republican lawmakers in particular have taken aim at Mayorkas, criticizing his work during congressional hearings and calling for his resignation.
Mayorkas said Friday that “poverty, violence, corruption, authoritarian regimes, the Covid-19 pandemic [and] extreme weather events” have all contributed to the increase of migrants at the border. He maintained that the border has been an issue for decades and blamed smuggling organizations that “spread lies to intending migrants, deceiving them into thinking that the border is open — and it is not, and it has not been.”
Republican lawmakers sounded off on the Biden administration after Title 42, established under former President Donald Trump, expired at midnight.
“Horrific and cruel. The #BidenBorderCrisis is a deliberate political decision from Biden, Harris and every congressional Dem,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tweeted on Friday.
In the coming days, Americans will hear “about the MASSIVE catastrophe at our southern border, but what you won’t hear is the folks who created this mess taking responsibility and fixing it,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) wrote.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), a likely 2024 GOP presidential candidate, said that “this administration is showing little interest in actually solving” the border situation. Scott has used the looming expiration in recent weeks to bolster his presidential message, while also pushing a trio of bills to tighten border security: “One thing is clear: America needs new leadership,” he wrote.
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said on CNN Friday morning that “the situation at the border is as chaotic as Afghanistan was. … The administration came back and said they were happy with it. This meets their needs, and it is an embarrassment.”