Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will make his third trip to the US border on Thursday — while neither President Biden or border point person VP Harris have made a single trip — according to a report.
During a stop in El Paso, Texas, Mayorkas will meet with immigration advocates, sheriffs and local law enforcement officials, and will meet with front DHS workers in McAllen, Texas, KGET in El Paso reported.
But while the trip will be his third visit to the border, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have yet to travel there.
Mayorkas and a bipartisan group of senators visited a detention center for unaccompanied children in El Paso on March 19.
On March 6, he led a delegation of administration officials — including policy adviser Susan Rice — to the border to tour facilities run by Border Patrol and Department of Health and Human Services in Donna and Carrizo Springs, Texas.
Mayorkas, who has refused to call the situation at the border a crisis, has since been taking a more hardline approach and even weighed the possibility of restarting wall construction to fill “gaps” after Biden rolled back former President Donald Trump’s barrier plan when he entered office in January.
Speaking to Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel last week, Mayorkas said Customs and Border Protection submitted a proposal for steps it wants to pursue.
“The president has communicated quite clearly his decision that the emergency that triggered the devotion of DOD funds to the construction of the border wall is ended,” the DHS secretary reportedly told the group, referring to the Department of Defense.
“But that leaves room to make decisions as the administration, as part of the administration, in particular areas of the wall that need renovation, particular projects that need to be finished,” he added, according to the Washington Times that obtained notes of the meeting.
His visit to the border comes after Border Patrol agents detained groups totaling more than 200 migrants who illegally crossed the Rio Grande river into Texas on Tuesday.
Photos posted on Border Report show the mix of adults and children wrapped in Mylar blankets sitting in a field after being stopped, waiting to be loaded on DHS buses.
Border Patrol agents told the publication that smugglers give the migrants colored wristbands to track them.
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“It’s like a ticket to the carnival,” one agent said.
Another said the wristbands allow the migrants to try to cross the border multiple times.
“They can reuse it and keep trying to cross with it,” he said.
The wristbands were littered around the area where the migrants were held.
The agents said human traffickers, called “coyotes,” charge migrants up to $8,000 per person.
Most of them are traveling with young children because of the Biden administration’s policy not to return minors to their home countries.
The dramatic influx of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America heading to the US has reached a 15-year high and asylum seekers have flooded federal detention centers forcing the Biden White House to open military bases and convention centers to house the growing numbers.
The Border Patrol agents said apprehending large groups of migrants has become a daily occurrence in south Texas, a steady stream since January.
“They’re everywhere. If you drive back there you might hit someone,” the agent said, pointing to an area of thick brush.
The Border Patrol agents said the migrants are setting out on the perilous trek to the US to escape poverty, gang violence and the devastation left by two back-to-back hurricanes.
“We have been affected very much by the hurricanes and we want a normal life. We really have nothing. In Nicaragua, the schooling for children does not offer a good education. It is a country where life is not sure,” Cassie Escalante told the Border Report, as she held her 9-year-old daughter.