TEXAS, USA — Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Alejandro N. Mayorkas, was in the Rio Grande Valley near the Texas/Mexico border on Thursday.
During the trip, Secretary Mayorkas received operational updates about border issues and meet with DHS frontlines workers, according to a press release from his office.
He spoke to the media during the visit, saying he wanted to correct false information that has been circulating. He said the agency was working quickly to reunite unaccompanied minors with parents or guardians before they begin any possible application for asylum.
"As I think all of you know, in the prior administration, Title 42 of authority of the Centers for Disease Control was used to expel unaccompanied children regardless of their age," Secretary Mayorkas said. "And that is a practice that we discontinued immediately in the Biden administration for humanitarian reasons, because, in fact, they are just children, some so very tender of age."
He also said single adults would be "expelled" if they were not making a claim of asylum or other category for visa for the United States.
"We have seen the surges in migration before. We've seen them in the past. And migration surges are not new," Secretary Mayorkas said. "And importantly, migrants encountered at our border are expelled or are placed in immigration enforcement proceedings."
In the event a family crosses the border, that family is removed from the U.S. unless they have a basis for claiming relief under federal laws, Secretary Mayorkas said.
This comes as the surge in migrants crossing the border continues. There was a 13 percent increase in border crossings from June of 2021 to July of 2021, according to Customs and Border Protection. The secretary said the majority of those, 52 percent, were single adults.
This is Secretary Mayorkas' third trip to South Texas in the last few months.
Secretary Mayorkas also toured a border processing facility in Donna, Texas, back on May 7. He also joined Vice President Kamala Harris on a tour of the border near El Paso on June 25.
He was also in San Antonio back on June 29, praising Bexar County's COVID-19 vaccination efforts.