His look earlier than the House Homeland Security Committee comes because the Biden administration struggles to accommodate the growing number of children crossing the US-Mexico border alone towards the backdrop of a pandemic that is strained assets, notably shelter house.
Mayorkas, who is testifying on Capitol Hill for the primary time since his confirmation, pushed again towards characterizing the scenario as a disaster.

“I will share with you how I define a crisis. A crisis is when a nation is willing to rip a 9-year-old child out of the hands of his or her parent and separate that family to deter future migration. That to me is a humanitarian crisis,” Mayorkas mentioned.

As of Tuesday, greater than 300 unaccompanied migrant children had been in Border Patrol custody for greater than 10 days, NCS has realized. More than 4,200 minors have been in custody, with a mean time of 120 hours. Mayorkas mentioned in an announcement Tuesday that the US is on tempo to come across extra people on the border than within the final 20 years.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has not had the capability to take the variety of unaccompanied youngsters encountered on the border. Federal regulation requires unaccompanied youngsters to be turned over inside 72 hours to HHS, which oversees a shelter community designed to accommodate minors.

In February, greater than 9,400 unaccompanied youngsters — ranging in ages — crossed the US-Mexico border, in response to the latest available data from Customs and Border Protection. That’s up from January and is anticipated to proceed trending upward.

Asked about how previous the youngest baby was that got here into custody by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Mayorkas mentioned: “There are children, congressman, who are infants to the age of five, that come into the border. I confronted a situation of three young siblings, under the ages of 10. The youngest one being 2 years of age, whose mother didn’t make it.”

Mayorkas declined to say whether or not he was shocked by the spike in arrests on the US southern border.

“I don’t know that I had any particular expectation one way or the other. I just knew what we needed to do when we confront a situation, and in fact we are doing it,” he mentioned.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden discouraged would-be migrants from coming to the United States, telling ABC, “I can say quite clearly: Don’t come.”

The President continued: “We’re in the process of getting set up. Don’t leave your town or city or community.”

Mayorkas continued that theme Wednesday, saying: “The border is secure and the border is not open.”

“We are expelling under the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) public health authority in light of the pandemic. Single individuals who arrive at the border. We are expelling families under that same public health authority, limited only by the capacity of Mexico to receive them,” he added.

Mayorkas mentioned US Border Patrol is build up capability so migrants might be examined for Covid-19, noting that the administration has been working with native entities and community-based organizations to check and quarantine migrants launched from custody.

“US Customs and Border Protection did not have the capacity to test in its facilities, and now we are entering into a contract with one vendor to begin and we will expand as needed so that we can test in the CBP facility, when the other mechanisms of which I have spoken are not available,” Mayorkas mentioned.

House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, billed Wednesday’s listening to as a give attention to the “future” of the Department of Homeland Security within the “wake of the Trump administration’s four years of mismanagement and misuse of the Department.”

Why so many kids cross the border aloneWhy so many kids cross the border alone

“For years, President Trump left DHS without a lawfully appointed, confirmed Secretary and kept critical positions vacant so he could exploit the Department for political gain,” Thompson mentioned Wednesday.

Thompson mentioned he appears ahead to “competent, Senate-confirmed leadership” now that Mayorkas has been sworn in.

New York Rep. John Katko, the highest Republican on the committee, mentioned the scenario on the border, the place he simply visited, continues to “get worse everyday with inadequate action or even proper acknowledgment of the severity of the situation.”

“I can tell you without hesitation that it is indeed a crisis that continues to deepen each and every day,” he mentioned.

Republicans grilled Mayorkas on the administration’s dealing with of the inflow. Rep. Clay Higgins referred to as the listening to “nauseating.”

Last month, Thompson invited Mayorkas to testify on Covid-19 vaccine distribution, the latest SolarWinds breach, immigration and the January 6 assault on the US Capitol. The committee additionally referred to as on Mayorkas to supply info on making certain that DHS front-line workers have entry to the vaccines.

This story has been up to date with further info and response.


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