Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), held Congress responsible for the continued influx of migrants at the US-Mexico border the day before the expiration of Title 42. Mayorkas criticized Congress for keeping an outdated and dysfunctional immigration system in place for over twenty years, despite widespread agreement on the need for legislative reform. His remarks came during a speech on Wednesday.
Title 42, issued by former President Donald Trump, has resulted in over 2.7 million expulsions along the southern border. The policy is set to expire on Thursday, and Mayorkas announced that the DHS would begin processing individuals at the border under its powers according to Title 8 of the US code. Officials expect a significant increase in migration after the policy ends. According to Mayorkas, the DHS is already seeing high numbers of encounters in certain sectors and anticipates an increase in southern border confrontations in the coming weeks.
Although Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz referred to the situation at the southern border as a “crisis” during his testimony in August, Mayorkas has refused to use that term. Instead, he stated on Wednesday that the DHS’s primary strategy is to establish legal immigration pathways and harsher penalties for those who choose to immigrate illegally, all within the constraints of a broken immigration system that Congress has not fixed for over two decades.