- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 21, 2021

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas insisted that the southern border is closed as made the rounds on the Sunday talk shows, but Sen. Tom Cotton isn’t buying it.

“The border is wide open,” the Arkansas Republican said on “Fox News Sunday,” adding that the “border right now is wide open because the Biden administration dismantled the very effective policies of the Trump administration and the agreements we had with Mexico and other Latin American countries.”

Mr. Mayorkas on Sunday continued to blame former President Donald Trump for the crowded border facilities, saying that the previous administration “dismantled” the system, but Mr. Cotton said it was the current administration triggered the recent spike in migrant arrivals.

“It was the Biden administration that dismantled three highly effective policies,” Mr. Cotton said. “First, the public health exclusionary order. They lifted that order as it relates to minors. Well, guess what we have now with the border? Lots more minors. That’s not a surprise.”

He also cited the Trump “remain in Mexico” policy, which kept migrants from entering the U.S. while their cases were adjudicated, and the “safe third-country agreement” that required migrants to make their asylum claims in the first nation they entered after leaving their native country.

“That’s the international norm, that’s what we should do,” Mr. Cotton said. “Joe Biden could reimpose all three of those things this week if you wanted to.”

.@SenTomCotton refutes Sec. Mayorkas‘ claim that the southern border is secure and closed saying, “It’s wide open.” #FoxNewsSunday

— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) March 21, 2021

Mr. Mayorkas insisted that “the border is secure, the border is closed,” and blamed the surge on the Trump administration.

“The prior administration dismantled the orderly and safe way that these children can make their claims,” Mr. Mayorkas said. “It tore down the Central American minors program that allowed these children to make their claims under United States law without having to take the perilous journey. We are rebuilding that process. We are encouraging families not to send their families along the dangerous journey.”

At the same time, he said, “if they arrive at the border, we have a responsibility to allow them to make their claims under United States law.”

Mr. Cotton cited reports that U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement “may be directed to simply start processing people into the country without even giving them a notice to appear in court.”

“And of course, all of these bogus asylum claims are taking up so much manpower and resources of the border, that means that we also have other threats, like increases in fentanyl and other kinds of drug trafficking or persons on the terrorist watch list crossing to our border,” he said.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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