Former Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf blames the surge in border crossings on Biden administration policy.
House Republicans on Thursday called for a hearing into the Biden administration’s response to a surge of unaccompanied children at the border — just as the administration has denied there is a migrant crisis.
“We write to request that you schedule a hearing of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship to examine the Biden Administration’s response to the sharp increase of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) arriving at the southern U.S. border,” lawmakers led by Reps. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio., said in a letter to Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee Chair Zoe Lofgren.
“Proper oversight requires that Subcommittee Members have the opportunity to hear directly from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials, and to question them about the escalating crisis and whether they have plans to stop the surge,” it continued.
The letter comes just as Axios reported that Health and Human Services are nearing full capacity at the border, and Border Patrol referred an average of 321 children per day to HHS custody — up from 47 a day in the first week of January.
It’s the latest indication of a surge at the border. The Biden administration has opened a new HHS facility for unaccompanied minors in Carrizo Springs, Texas, and is opening two new Customs and Border Protection (CBP) migrant facilities to handle the influx, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The number of UAC encounters shows no signs of decreasing — a fact the Biden Administration has acknowledged by opening one of the same influx facilities that the Trump Administration used, by keeping other facilities on ready status, and by requesting that other federal agencies provide a list of facilities that could potentially be used to house UACs,” the letter said.
The Biden administration has not acknowledged there is a “crisis” at the border, insisting that there is merely a “challenge” for the government, non-governmental organizations and border towns.
However, it has rolled back a number of Trump-era policies, including the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), ending catch-and-release, and stopping construction of the wall at the border. Meanwhile, Democrats have released legislation that would grant citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants.
It is also so far not applying Title 42 protections ‒ which allow agents to quickly expel migrants at the border for public health reasons ‒ to unaccompanied children. Republicans have blamed these measures for fueling the crisis.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on Monday that DHS is working to “replace the cruelty” of the Trump administration with “an orderly humane and safe immigration process.”
“We are not saying don’t come. We are saying don’t come now, because we will be able to deliver a safe and orderly process for them as quickly as possible,” he said.
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