CNN anchor not buying Mayorkas border spin: ‘If that’s not a crisis, secretary, what is?’

Ahead of President Joe Biden’s trip to the southern border this weekend, the first of his administration after allowing illegal entries to reach record levels for two years, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was left stammering on CNN when asked, “if that’s not a crisis, secretary, what is?”

(Video: CNN)

Mayorkas joined CNN’s Poppy Harlow Friday morning following Biden’s unveiling of a bandage plan that turns away illegals from Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua while facilitating their entry, not through the appropriate immigration and asylum process, but through an app providing them “parole.”

As an end to the emergency expulsion power of Title 42 is challenged in the courts, over two million asylum hearings are backlogged, and there is no end in sight to illegals seeking unlawful entry into the country, Harlow asked the secretary if he’d “qualify what is happening on the border right now as a crisis?”

“We have seen the situation at the border managed in an orderly way; we have seen it in extraordinarily challenging circumstances as well,” Mayorkas deflected. “You can rest assured, Poppy, that we’re doing everything that we possibly can to build a system that provides humanitarian relief in a safe and orderly way while trying to persuade Congress to fix what is a broken system.”

With the slightest quaver, Harlow pushed back at the dodge from the DHS head and asked, “I understand that, but just what you’re seeing, what you’ve seen the 20 times you’ve been there, the record number of migrants at the southern border–and last year it was nearly 2.4 million–if that’s not a crisis, secretary, what is?”

As Biden has previously tried to diminish his policies’ impact on record inflation, so too did Mayorkas try to negate his department’s failures by referring to illegal immigration as a global problem, saying, “You know, Poppy, we have seen 2.4 million encounters at our southern border and it is reflective of the greatest level of displacement of people in the world since World War II. It is reflective of a migration challenge that is gripping the entire hemisphere.”

Harlow refused to let the Biden official off the hook as she countered, “this is in the hands of you now,” before sharing feedback from border agents, saying, “they feel abandoned by this administration, by the federal government, so why has it taken two years for President Biden to go to the southern border?”

“The president knows the border very well. He has had his secretary of Homeland Security visit multiple times since the very initiation of the administration,” Mayorkas responded, in part speaking of his own involvement as though it were somebody else after praising those working on the border despite his seemingly hamstringing them at every turn.

He also attempted to laud the administration as he said, “We have accomplished more than 7,000 arrests. We have dedicated really untold resources, personnel, technology, investigative capabilities to break up these smuggling organizations, to disrupt them. You and I have both seen too much tragedy on the border. It’s precisely we’re trying to build safe and lawful pathways.”

Meanwhile, he had joined the official position of the administration Thursday stating at a press conference that “the border is not open,” despite all evidence to the contrary.


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