There have been over 1.5 million migrant encounters at the southern border since Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last said “the border is secure.”
Mayorkas faces impeachment in the House of Representatives over his handling of the border “crisis,” a word he will not use, as illegal immigration continues to surge under the Biden administration. The U.S. Border Patrol made 1,589,148 migrant encounters at the southern border since Mayorkas last said that the “border is secure” during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing in April 2023, according to Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and data obtained by Fox News.
Mayorkas testified before the committee and was asked whether he believed all nine sectors of the southern border were secure. Mayorkas replied that the question was more complex than a simple “yes or no” response, but assured the committee that he believed that “the border is secure” – a phrase he has utilized multiple times – and noted that various agencies were working to increase its security.
The 1,589,148 migrant encounters at the southern border from May 2023 to January 2024 are over 300,000 more than the combined total number of encounters for fiscal years 2019 and 2020 during the Trump administration, according to CBP.
Under the Biden administration and Mayorkas’ leadership at DHS, there were a total of over 2 million migrant encounters at the southern border and 600,000 migrants who crossed the border but were never encountered in fiscal year 2023, according to CBP data.
The number of terrorist threats at the border is also increasing; Border Patrol caught 49 terror-linked individuals trying to cross the southern border between October 2023 and December 2023, compared to 3 similar encounters for the entirety of fiscal year 2020, according to CBP. There were a total of 169 individuals on the terror watchlist caught trying to cross the southern border for fiscal year 2023.
Some terror-linked individuals are initially caught at the southern border but are then released into the country if they are not initially found on the terror watchlist. In one such case, an al-Shabaab terrorist was caught and released into the country and roamed free for over a year before Immigrations and Customs Enforcement determined he was a threat and caught him in Minnesota in January, according to an exclusive memo previously obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Mayorkas has called the situation at the border “challenging” but has refused to label it a crisis, even as Biden has referred to it as such.
“I am not focused on the label that one appends to it. I am focused on the challenge that it is and what we can do about it,” Mayorkas told The New York Times in early February. “The choice of language has become a proxy for the politics of the issue. And I am focused on the substance of the issue and addressing it substantively. Whatever we call it does not change what we are experiencing, and the challenge that it is.”
Republican House members introduced a resolution to impeach Mayorkas on Tuesday but, in a 214-216 split, failed to garner enough votes to pass it.
Several House Republicans have vowed that they will seek to impeach Mayorkas again next week, citing their narrow failure to do so on Wednesday on the absence of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise during the vote, as he is currently receiving medical treatment for blood cancer.
“We have a close vote, failed on a tie. We’ll win it next week when Scalise is back, so don’t worry about the Mayorkas thing,” House Rules Committee Chairman Tom Cole previously told the DCNF on Wednesday.
“[Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is] going to wind up impeaching Mayorkas as soon as Congressman Scalise comes back,” Republican Rep. Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin previously told the DCNF. “Sometimes you got to take chances in this business.”
DHS did not respond to a request for comment.
Jake Smith on February 11, 2024