Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on Sunday defended the Biden administration’s response to the migrant camp in Del Rio, Texas, where tens of thousands reportedly crossed the border into the United States.
When asked on "Fox News Sunday" by host Chris Wallace why his department didn’t "stop them from coming into the country," Mayorkas said, "We did. We encountered them, they gathered — they assembled in that one location in Del Rio, Texas, and we applied the laws. We applied the public health law under the CDC's authority, and we applied immigration law."
When asked why the Biden administration didn’t build "a wall or a fence" to prevent border crossings, Mayorkas said, "It is (not) the policy of this administration. We do not agree with the building of the wall. The law provides that individuals can make a claim for humanitarian relief. That is actually one of our proudest traditions."
The secretary also said that his department has "strict COVID testing protocols that we apply across the board. We test, isolate, and quarantine unaccompanied children. We work with nonprofit organizations to test families. Those who are in ICE custody are tested, isolated, and quarantine. Those who are expelled under the Title 42 Public Health Authority are returned immediately. They are not placed in immigration court proceedings, and those we do not test, because they are returned immediately."
Mayorkas later said that the department is "complying" with the Supreme Court’s ruling on the "remain in Mexico" asylum policy, but said that the U.S. has to negotiate with Mexico to reach a bilateral agreement.
"We do have an obligation to implement the migrant protection protocols, and we are negotiating with Mexico, because those protocols require a bilateral agreement. And so, we are negotiating with Mexico, as we are required to do under the court’s order," he said.
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