Four years into his term as Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas has insisted Congress is to blame for the tsunami of illegal immigration at the southern border.
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet The Press” with Kristen Welker, Mayorkas admitted there was a crisis at the border but that he bears no responsibility for it:
It certainly is a crisis, and, well, we don’t bear responsibility for a broken system, and we’re doing a tremendous amount within that broken system. But, fundamentally, fundamentally, Congress is the only one who can fix that.
There is no question that we have a broken system. There is no question that we have a challenge, a crisis at the border. And there is no question that Congress needs to fix it. And we’re doing everything we can within that broken system, short of legislation to address what is a not just a challenge for the United States but one throughout our region.
When pressed by Welker on whether Biden has the executive authority to fix the border crisis, Mayorkas said the answer was no.
Instead, he suggested that the only way out is for Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that Joe Biden can sign into law.
The fact of the matter, Kristen, is that we have taken executive actions already. We continuously review what options are available to us. But those are always challenged in the courts. And whether or not they see the light of day and actually are able to be operationalized is an open question. That is why – that is why the bipartisan group of senators actually prepared and presented a piece of legislation that would, you know, base it in statute, the ability to close the border for a limited period of time, an extreme measure, and would – it would be immune from court challenge because it is statutorily-based.
Mayorkas, who narrowly survived an impeachment vote last week after a handful of Republicans refused to support it, also argued he had done a “tremendous amount” to fix the illegal immigration issue:
Well, we have already taken important steps. He – we certainly haven’t done “nothing.” I will tell you, we issued a regulation, the Circumvention of Lawful Pathways, that increased – that actually created a rebuttable presumption of ineligibility for asylum-seekers if they did not avail themselves of the lawful pathways that we’ve built. And so, we’ve done a tremendous amount. It’s very important to remember: We have removed, returned or expelled more individuals in the past three years than the prior administration did in all four.
When pressed about growing speculation about Joe Biden’s fitness for office, Mayorkas also made the laughable claim that not only is he not declining, but that the president is actually at the top of his game.
“The most difficult part about a meeting with President Biden is preparing for it because he is sharp, intensely probing, and detail-oriented, and focused,” Mayorkas said.
On the question of impeachment, Mayorkas is not out of the woods yet. A second vote is expected to be held on Tuesday.