Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas blamed the Trump administration for the current crisis at the southern border Monday, saying that they “dismantled our nation’s immigration system in its entirety.”
Speaking to reporters at a White House press briefing, Mayorkas referenced President Trump by name and targeted his policies to kick off his remarks.
“Let me explain to you why [fixing the broken immigration system] is hard and why it is going take time. I think it is important to understand what we have inherited because it defines the situation as it currently stands. Entire systems are not rebuilt in a day or in a few weeks,” he began, “To put it succinctly, the prior administration dismantled our nation’s immigration system in its entirety.”
“When I started 27 days ago I learned that we did not have the facilities available or equipped to administer the humanitarian laws that our Congress passed years ago,” Mayorkas continued, “We did not have the personnel, policies, procedures or training to administer those laws.
“Quite frankly, the entire system was gutted.”
The DHS secretary went on to note that the Trump administration had shuttered the Central American Minors Refugee program, as well as cut off funding to Northern Triangle countries, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, which he claimed was to blame for the current situation on the border.
He also alleged that the previous administration entered into contracts that “were unlawful, or against the interest of the United States Department of Justice,” going on to say “that’s just the tip of it.”
“It takes time to build out of the depths of cruelty that the administration before us established. What we are seeing now at the border is the immediate result of the dismantlement of the system and the time that it takes to rebuild it virtually from scratch.”
Mayorkas’ comments came before reporters had been given the chance to ask any questions, making it clear he was likely expecting questions on the burgeoning crisis at the US-Mexico border, a crisis that has erupted in the month since President Biden was sworn in.
The US has seen spikes of over 100 percent in illegal border crossings from this time last year.
The US Customs and Border Protection revealed in a report last month that the number of migrants apprehended at the border in the month of January reached nearly 78,000, up from 36,679 in January 2020.
Single adult Mexican citizens accounted for more than 37,000 CBP encounters, a 119 percent increase from this time last year, according to the agency.
The crisis has become so clear that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said last month that migrants believed the borders were open under President Biden.