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DHS secretary on immigration after Title 42: a challenge but 'not worried'

“The situation at the border is a very serious one, a very challenging one, and a very difficult one,” Mayorkas said

Secretario de Seguridad Nacional, Alejandro Mayorkas
Secretario de Seguridad Nacional, Alejandro Mayorkas | EFE/JIM LO SCALZO

May 8, 2023 6:59am

Updated: May 8, 2023 6:59am

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on Friday that the Biden administration was facing an “extremely challenging” situation with the surge of migration at the southern border as the end of Title 42 nears. 

“The situation at the border is a very serious one, a very challenging one, and a very difficult one,” Mayorkas said during a visit to Brownsville, Texas, adding that the Biden administration is finalizing new policies to help curb the surge in migrants. 

On May 11, the Trump-era policy Title 42, which allows border agents to quickly expel asylum seekers at the border, is set to expire. Authorities are bracing for a surge in migration once the policy is no longer in place. According to estimates from the Department of Homeland Security, there could be around 13,000 and 18,000 migrants attempting to cross the border every day. 

This week alone, Border Patrol agents have encountered around 7,200 undocumented migrants a day, up from around 5,200 migrants in March, according to the President of the National Border Patrol Council, Brandon Judd. 

Mayorkas added that many of the migrants are “being deceived” by smugglers, who are luring them to make the dangerous journey to the border on the promise that the border is open and they will be able to enter the country. 

“The border is not open, it has not been open, and it will not be open subsequent to May 11,” Mayorkas said. ” And the smugglers who exploit vulnerable migrants are spreading misinformation. They are spreading false information, lies in a way to lure vulnerable people to the southern border and those individuals will only be returned."

The DHS secretary mentioned the different options that migrants have to legally enter the country, including the recent immigration deal signed with Mexico, in which the Latin American country will accept up to 30,000 migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. 

“We have a plan, we are executing on that plan,” Mayorkas said. “Fundamentally, however, we are working within a broken immigration system that for decades has been in dire need of reform.”

On Friday, the U.S. Customs and border protection announced that they were going to increase the daily amount of land crossings between the U.S. and Mexico from 740 to 1,000 with the help of the agency’s mobile app, CBPOne.