The Biden administration continues to assure that the southern border is ‘secure’ despite record-setting numbers of illegal crossings and proliferation of the crisis over the last few months.
‘Look, the border is secure,’ Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Matorkas insisted during remarks at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado on Tuesday.
But he added that the administration is still ‘working to make the border more secure.’
‘That has been a historic challenge,’ Mayorkas said, adding that there is a difference between the words ‘safe’ and ‘secure.’
But insistence that the border is secure comes amid a prevailing rise in crossings as well as complaints from New York City and Washington, D.C. that the crisis is finally hitting home after Arizona and Texas starting busing migrants to the city hubs to deal with them.
Crossings are at an all-time high at this point in the year with nearly 1.75 million crossings in Fiscal Year 2022 with the release of June figures last week – and there are still three more months left to go before a total roundup for the year is counted.
The last quarter’s figures show that 200,000 migrants passed through the southern border every month for the last three months.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas repeated Tuesday that the southern border is ‘secure’ but made sure to clarify that does not mean it is ‘safe’
Comments come as figures for June show that CBP encountered 239,416 migrants last month alone. It means that in the last three months there have been 200,000 crossings each month
Both Democratic Mayors Muriel Bowser of D.C. and Eric Adams of New York City recently denounced the influx of migrants to their cities due to the busing initiative from Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona.
Adams asked President Joe Biden for ‘additional federal resources immediately’ to deal with the spike.
‘If we do not get these urgently needed resources, we may struggle to provide the proper level of support our clients deserve, while also facing challenges as we serve both a rapidly growing shelter population and new clients who are seeking asylum,’the Democratic mayor said in a prepared statement.
The demand is similar to the pleas from officials in border states ever since Biden took office and the migration crisis surged exponentially with the administration’s message that the border was open to all – a juxtaposition to Donald Trump’s four years of hardline immigration policies.
Homeless shelters in the nation’s capital are also starting to cap out with asylum-seekers bused there.
‘Well, this is a very significant issue,’ Bowser told CBS News program Face the Nation on Sunday morning. ‘We have for sure called on the federal government to work across state lines to prevent people from really being tricked into getting on buses.’
‘I fear that they’re being tricked into nationwide bus trips when their final destinations are places all over the United States of America,’ she added.
A child asylum-seeker pours water on his head to cool down after waiting on the U.S. side of the southern border wall to be transported to a processing center by CBP
New York City and Washington, D.C. are now feeling the effects of the border crisis as Texas and Arizona started busing migrants to the cities in the spring. The mayors of the respective cities claims that their homeless shelters are becoming overwhelmed with the influx of migrants and are calling for more federal resources to help
A bus full of migrants carried from the southern border in Texas is pictured dropping them off in front of the U.S. Capitol in D.C. earlier this summer
At least 4,000 migrants have arrived in D.C. Texas started busing migrants there in April and Arizona followed their neighboring state’s lead in May. Another 3,000 have arrived in NYC in recent weeks.
‘I have said to a number of legislators who expressed to me that we need to address the challenge at the border before they pass legislation and I take issue with the math of holding the solution hostage until the problem is resolved,’ Secretary Mayorkas said on Tuesday.
‘There are smugglers that operate on the Mexican side of the border and placing one’s life in their hands is not safe,’ he added.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released numbers last week for June showing that there were 207,416 encounters with migrants last month alone compared to the 189,034 in June of last year.
The last year of Trump’s presidency, there were 33,049 encounters in June 2020.
With the latest June figures, Fiscal Year 2022 has now seen 1,746,119 total encounters at the southern border, which already outpaces the previous year when 1,734,686 migrants were encountered by CBP.
There are still three months left in the fiscal year.