Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas released a video Tuesday urging would-be migrants not to test the U.S. border, saying they are taking big risks and it may not pay off since some of them will be returned to their homes.
“Do not come to the border. Do not put your life at risk, only to be sent back,” Mr. Mayorkas says in the two-minute clip.
His comments come just days after a federal judge ordered that he continue to enforce the Title 42 pandemic border shutdown, which gives Homeland Security the power to quickly expel unauthorized border crossers.
Mr. Mayorkas‘ comments also seemed to respond to new reports that his department will be more lenient to families who do show up at the border even with Title 42 still in place.
“The restrictions at our southwest border have not changed. Single adults and families encountered will continue to be expelled where appropriate under Title 42,” he said.
He acknowledged that his department is already seeing “historic” illegal activity at the southern border, and said it could well get worse. He blamed “confusion” stemming from the ongoing court battles and “misinformation” that smuggling cartels are peddling to would-be migrants.
The difficulty for Mr. Mayorkas is that the cartels are often right when they say migrants can gain a foothold in the U.S.
According to Homeland Security’s own numbers from April, those who jumped the border had a better than 50-50 chance of making it in and remaining, either by avoiding detection altogether or by being caught and released by border agents and officers.
And the successful migrants share their stories in phone calls and social media posts that reach back home, enticing more people to make the journey.
Mr. Mayorkas acknowledged that in his video, saying the people who are being ousted are ones who “are unable to establish a legal basis to remain.”
• Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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