DHS' Mayorkas, In About Face, Advocates for Increase in Deportations Sec. of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House on March 1, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
By Solange Reyner | Wednesday, 07 April 2021 06:12 PM
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a closed-door meeting with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement vowed to stand up for the agency and advocated for an increase in the number of deportations, according to notes of the meeting reviewed by the Washington Times.
Mayorkas also said DHS would take on so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to work with the agency to turn over illegal immigrants hiding out.
California has deemed itself a sanctuary state and other cities include places like Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Portland, Oregon.
“I see cases now where we apprehend and remove individuals that I think need to be prosecuted criminally,” Mayorkas said during a virtual town hall with ICE employees last week where he also revealed that the Biden administration was mulling a restart to Trump’s border wall construction to plug “gaps” in the current barrier.
“Quite frankly, I'm going to have to understand why some of these individuals are not subject to a Title 8 USC 1326 case and I intend to work with the DOJ in that regard,” he added.
On ICE, Mayorkas said: “I'm 100% opposed to the abolition of ICE. It is the opposite of what I think needs to occur. I think we need to strengthen our policies and practices and communicate more effectively what we do and why we do it.”
The number of illegal crossings at the southern border skyrocketed in March to more than 171,000, the highest levels in at least 15 years, according to preliminary data reported by The Washington Post.
“These numbers suggest a new level of challenge for the administration as they look for a sensible border strategy, particularly given the rise in the number of families,” Andrew Selee, president of the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute, told the Post.
“They’re facing a set of tough options for trying to manage the flow in a way that’s consistent with the desire for humanitarian treatment and yet dissuades people from coming,” he said.
Former President Donald Trump in an interview with Newsmax celebrated the wall pivot by the Biden administration.
“I think it’s great that they reversed themselves, but a lot of damage was done because we were gonna have that wall almost complete. You know, it delayed two and a half years because of lawsuits,” Trump said in a Tuesday interview.
“We started building it and we were almost finished and then they called an end to it. And it’s, you know, just incredible. But if they agree that they’re going to complete it — there’s very little to complete. If they agree that they’re going to complete it, that’s a great thing. That’s a very positive step.”