(CNSNews.com) – DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Sunday that Colombia, Costa Rico, and Ecuador are also “experiencing unprecedented migration challenges” as evidenced by the growing number of Venezuelans and Nicaraguans in those countries.
“I’ve been to El Paso as recently as just a few weeks ago. I’ve been there quite a number of times. I’ve spoken within the president. He’s requested my visits to border. I’ve gone on my own of course, and I want him to see the extraordinary work of the men and women of the United States Border Patrol, of Customs and Border Protection’s field operations, how we have surged resources to address a challenge that’s not unique to the southern border of the United States,” he told ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolous.”
“It’s a challenge that’s really gripping our entire hemisphere. You know George, I was in Colombia just a few weeks ago and there are 2.4 million Venezuelans in Colombia now. I was in Costa Rica a few months ago, and Costa Rica’s population is increasing in the number of Nicaraguans. I was in Ecuador a few weeks ago, and they too are really experiencing unprecedented migration challenges,” Mayorkas said.
“This is something that’s not unique to the United States. It’s gripping the hemisphere, and a regional challenge requires a regional solution, and that’s one of the elements of the North American Leaders summit that we look forward to addressing,” the secretary said.
Mayorkas said that “there are three core principles here.”
Number one, we’re dealing with a broken immigration system that Congress has failed to repair for decades, and there is unanimity with respect to that reality.
Number two, the world is dealing with the greatest displacement of people since World War II and the Western Hemisphere, our entire hemisphere is gripped with a migration challenge, and three, we here in the United States are premising our actions on the following.
We want individuals who qualify for relief under our laws to come to the United States in a safe and orderly way, and that’s why we’re building lawful pathways, so people do not have to place their lives and their life savings in the hands of ruthless smugglers. Those are the three core principles underlying our actions. That’s the reality that we are dealing with.
The secretary explained that despite assertions to the contrary from the administration’s allies, they cannot end the use of Title 42 on its own.
“George, we’ve tried to end the use of Title 42. We sought to end it, and we were prevented from doing so by a district court in Louisiana, so we cannot use our ordinary immigration authorities to the fullest extent. We’ve tried to, and so under the court’s order we are continuing to apply Title 42 until the Supreme Court’s ruling,” Mayorkas said.
“But the Supreme Court does say you can act on your own,” host George Stephanopolous said.
“But the district court in Louisiana does not. The district court in Louisiana when we tried to use our ordinary immigration enforcement authorities under Title 8 of the United States code prevented us from doing so and said that we had to employ Title 42 to the full extent of our capabilities,” Mayorkas said.
When asked to respond to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who called the president’s policy a “band-aid” and adding that they need more funding and resources along the border right now, the secretary said, “Governor Abbott is not collaborating with the federal government on an issue that requires collaboration.
“We cannot have the rights and the needs of individuals who are seeking humanitarian relief in the United States be exploited for political purposes. We cannot have unilateral governor action that is not coordinated with the federal government to address an issue that’s of national importance,” Mayorkas added.
On House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s call for Mayorkas to resign, the secretary said, “I’m joining the president today on his visit to El Paso. Texas, I’ve been to the border quite a number of times. I’m joining the president at the North American Leaders summit in Mexico City to work with our partners in Mexico and Canada to address the security of the homeland.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m proud to do it alongside 250,000 incredibly dedicated and talented individuals in the Department of Homeland Security. I’m going to continue to do my work,” he said.
“No intention of resigning?” Stephanopolous asked.
“I do not. I’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’re going to do it,” Mayorkas said.
When asked whether he’s prepared for the GOP-led investigations, the secretary said, “I am. I will be, and I’ll continue to do my work throughout them.”
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