“Putting more pressure on a system that can handle it risks creating a large-scale humanitarian crisis on American soil for which the White House and your department will be solely responsible. No one who cares about immigrants should want to,” said Representative Greg Stanton. From Arizona to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mallorcas during a House hearing. “It’s clear to me that the federal government is not ready. Not even close.”
Stanton acknowledged that immigration issues are not unique to the United States and called the Trump administration’s approach “inhumane, ineffective, and detrimental to the federal government’s long-term ability to process immigrants through the system.”
But Stanton said a Department of Homeland Security memo outlining preparations on the US southern border was not enough to meet the record numbers.
“Your note acknowledges that even with restrictions on Address 42, Customs and Border Patrols were very onerous and just two months ago they had to increase the number of clients spread out along the southwest border by more than 600. I suggested adding a few hundred more,” Stanton said.
“But Mr. Secretary, no thoughtful person believes that modest improvements in employment will put the federal government in a position to handle three times as many crossings. Not an opportunity,” he added.
Mayorkas has maintained a response to some of Stanton’s concerns about part of its planning including strengthening the capacity of nonprofit organizations and coordinating with city and state and local officials.
“We will be ready and our plan is comprehensive,” Mayorcas said.
At the hearing, Republican lawmakers also criticized the Biden administration’s immigration policies in their questioning of Mallorcas – at times, drawing on ugly racial stereotypes to criticize Mallorcas’ leadership.
Rep. Ken Buck, a Colorado Republican, criticized Mallorcas for reversing Trump-era immigration policies and claimed Americans are frustrated with Hispanic-speaking children in schools, immigrants receiving hospital care, and wages “suppressed by the mass influx of workers.”
“Minister Mayorcas, I was at an event last weekend, and a lady approached me and asked if I felt any shame for what I did in this country. My question to you with Minister Mayorcas is very simple. I hope you answer that of the lady? Are you ashamed of what you have done in this country?” Buck asked.
“Congressman, I have a lot to say,” Majorcas replied.
“You have a minute and 17 seconds to say,” Buck said.
“In response to what I just said. It’s a very deep attack on many different levels, in many different respects. I’m not going to ask you to apologize,” Mayorcas said.