Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas dodged a question during an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday about whether or not the federal government should be releasing illegal migrants into the country in large numbers to await court dates years down the line.
The number of pending cases in U.S. immigration courts reached three million in November, one million of which were added in a single year, according to a recent report from Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). Mayorkas didn’t say whether or not he supports releasing migrants to await court hearings years down the line.
“There is a backlog of some 3 million cases of asylum seekers who are allowed to come into the United States, remain in the United States while they wait for their trial, which in most cases, will be years from now, just not enough judges to process that. What do you do about that, number one? And number two, is it a good idea to let the asylum seekers be in the United States while they await a trial, or should they remain where they are?” host Willie Geist asked the DHS Secretary.
Mayorkas blamed the issue on the Trump administration and Congress.
“That backlog is a powerful example of how broken our immigration system is, and for how long it has been broken. Because that backlog existed when I was in the Department of Homeland Security in 2009. It preceded me then, and it precedes me now as the secretary of Homeland Security,” Mayorkas responded.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas dodges a question about whether or not federal authorities should release migrants into the country en masse to await court days years down the line
The number of migrants released in 2023 could fill Yankee Stadium at least… pic.twitter.com/DzJzuS7KVc
— Jennie Taer (@JennieSTaer) January 3, 2024
”That 3 million case backlog has been building for years and years and years. It got much, much worse when U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency within the Department of Homeland Security that administers our legal immigration system, was financially gutted during the prior administration when it did not receive the fee funds that Congress statutorily called upon it to do,” Mayorkas said.
Federal border authorities released enough migrants into the country who crossed the southern border illegally to fill Yankee Stadium more than 17 times. A migrant recently received a court date for 2031, according to Fox News.
Migrant encounters at the southern border in December hit roughly 302,000, marking the highest month on record, according to ABC News.
”And what we have done is we have sought additional asylum officers. We’re going to be right-sizing that immigration agency through our regulatory authorities, but fundamentally, Congress must fix the broken immigration system, and that case backlog is a powerful example of why that is so,” Mayorkas said.
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