Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Sunday skirted accountability for the swelling migrant disaster and as a substitute blasted Congress for failing to advance a border safety bundle.
Mayorkas, 64 — who narrowly dodged impeachment by the Home final week over the border debacle — acknowledged the continuing disaster however underscored that the issue predated the Biden administration.
“It definitely is a disaster. And, nicely, we don’t bear accountability for a damaged system, and we’re doing an amazing quantity throughout the system. However basically, Congress is the one one who can repair it,” Mayorkas advised NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
For years, Mayorkas has said both publicly and earlier than Congress that the border is “safe.” Final week, President Biden, 81, a fellow Democrat, undercut him and admitted the “border is not safe” earlier than pinning blame on his predecessor.
Mayorkas on Sunday dodged a query in regards to the discrepancy of their remarks.
Final week, an effort by Home Republicans to question Mayorkas went up in flames partially due to Rep. Al Inexperienced (D-Texas) getting wheeled into Congress from the hospital whereas recovering from belly surgical procedure to vote in opposition to it, along with GOP defections to the Dem facet.
“Generally once you’re counting votes and other people present up after they’re not anticipated to be within the constructing, it modifications the equation,” Home Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) conceded afterward.
Republicans have hinted at plans to strive for impeachment once more.
“They’re baseless allegations,” Mayorkas shot again of the GOP’s accusations in opposition to him. “That’s why I actually am not distracted by them and centered on the work of the Division of Homeland Safety.”
Home Republicans have accused Mayorkas of “willful and systemic refusal to adjust to the regulation” whereas presiding over the border disaster and “breach of public belief” for allegedly mendacity to Congress by saying the border is “safe” and that DHS has “operational control” of it.
Along with the impeachment effort in opposition to Mayorkas chucking up the sponge, a sweeping bipartisan border safety reform bundle within the Senate collapsed final week.
The deal had been negotiated for some 4 months and was broadly seen as a way of unlocking Republican help for a broader supplemental that includes support to Ukraine, Israel and Indo-Pacific allies.
Now the Senate is mulling a roughly $95 billion supplemental with out the border provisions.
“The system has not been fastened for 30 years. A bipartisan group of senators [has] now offered us with the instruments and sources we’d like … and but Congress killed it earlier than even studying it,” Mayorkas bemoaned.
A refrain of Republicans have pressed Biden to take govt motion to allay the border disaster much like his predecessor, Donald Trump, resembling reviving the “Stay in Mexico” coverage — an association wherein asylum-seekers keep in Mexico whereas their court docket instances play out within the US.
“Now we have taken govt actions already. We constantly overview what choices can be found to us, however these are at all times challenged within the courts,” Mayorkas countered.
“Mexico has articulated publicly that it’s going to not enable the reimplementation of ‘Stay in Mexico,’ ” he mentioned.
In the mean time, there was a backlog of more than 3 million asylum instances in US courts.
Since Biden was sworn in as president in January 2021, US Customs and Border Safety has had at least 7 million encounters close to the southern border.
Mayorkas additionally opined on particular counsel Robert Hur’s scathing report that dropped final week wherein he declined to press expenses in opposition to the president for his retention of labeled paperwork whereas concluding a jury would doubtless see him as a “well-meaning aged man with a poor reminiscence.”
In his report, Hur documented numerous situations wherein Biden’s reminiscence lapsed throughout their over 5-hourlong interview final yr.
Mayorkas dinged Hur for making “gratuitous, pointless and inaccurate, private remarks” in regards to the president in his 388-page report.
“Essentially the most tough half a few assembly with President Biden is getting ready for it as a result of he’s sharp, intensely probing and detail-oriented,” Mayorkas countered.
Some Republicans resembling Rep. Claudia Tenney latched onto the Hur report and recommended Biden’s cupboard invoke the twenty fifth Modification to oust him from workplace on the idea that he’s incapacitated from serving.
Mayorkas, a member of the president’s cupboard, was requested if these conversations had taken place.
“By no means,” Mayorkas mentioned.