Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas wants to criminally prosecute more illegal immigrants and crack down on sanctuary cities
Joe Biden’s Homeland Security head is looking to crack down on illegal immigration by taking more legal action against border jumpers and targeting U.S. cities that act as a safe haven for them.
‘I see cases now where we apprehend and remove individuals that I think need to be prosecuted criminally,’ DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said during a virtual town hall with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees last week.
‘Quite frankly, I’m going to have to understand why some of these individuals are not subject to a Title 8 USC 1326 case and I intend to work with the DOJ in that regard,’ he added.
Entering the U.S. illegally is a misdemeanor under Title 8 Section 1325. Furthermore, reentering the country after being ousted is a felony under Title 8 Section 1326.
Mayorkas told ICE employees that DHS will also take on so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to work with the agency to turn over illegal immigrants hiding out there.
He also vowed during the meeting, according to notes of the conversation reviewed by the Washington Times, that he is opposed to some more progressive immigration and border protection policies, like the push from the far left to totally abolish ICE.
‘I’m 100% opposed to the abolition of ICE,’ he said. ‘It is the opposite of what I think needs to occur. I think we need to strengthen our policies and practices and communicate more effectively what we do and why we do it.’
Another notable tidbit to come from that meeting was Mayorkas revealing Biden is considering restarting construction on Donald Trump’s southern border wall in an effort to address the record numbers of illegal crossers.
He said the construction might resume in order to plug ‘gaps’ in the current barrier between the U.S. and Mexico.
The move comes as Biden made a big spectacle on Day One of his administration by issuing an executive order freezing Department of Defense funding for border wall construction. In February, he officially ended the emergency order at the border, but there were concerns about where the funds would go that were already appropriated for the border wall project.
The new hard-line stances come as Biden’s administration is facing a growing crisis at the southern border with record numbers of migrants arriving every day and facilities quickly becoming overcrowded and understaffed.
The new hard-line stance comes as record numbers of migrants continue to arrive at the southern border
Mayorkas says he will target so-called sanctuary cities like Philadelphia (right) and Los Angeles (left) that don’t cooperate with ICE and act as a safe haven for illegal immigrants
Mayorkas also said Biden is considering restarting construction on Donald Trump’s southern border wall to fill ‘gaps’
SANCTUARY CITIES – WHAT AND WHERE
Sanctuary cities – and states – are those which in broad terms protect illegal immigrants from deportation by federal authorities.
There is no legal definition and no single set of laws – so agreeing which places are sanctuary cities or states is in itself contentious.
But broadly, most sanctuary cities say that their police officers do not ask for immigration status, and do not report it to the federal authorities when they detain, arrest or process suspects.
Most will also decline to detain illegal immigrants on requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement unless they are accused of serious crimes. The degree of seriousness varies from place to place. In New York, even a felony is no guarantee that an immigration detainer will be obeyed.
California is the biggest single sanctuary area, with local law enforcement agencies banned by state law from using money, personnel or equipment to help federal immigration authorities act against illegal.
While critics might say some places are sanctuary cities, local lawmakers often deny it. In Los Angeles, where cops are banned from stopping people solely on suspicion of being illegal, the mayor has rejected the label, and frequently co-operates with immigration agencies.
Cities which identify as sanctuary include:
Berkeley, California, since 1971
San Francisco, CA
St Petersburg, Florida
New Orleans, Louisiana
Albany, New York
Jersey City, New Jersey
Newark, New Jersey
New York, New York
Cities accused of being sanctuary cities because of laws which limit co-operation with ICE, but which deny it include:
Los Angeles, California
Ann Arbor, Michigan
So-called sanctuary cities emerged as a hot topic in the midst of Trump imposing strict crack downs on deporting illegal immigrants.
A sanctuary city refers to a jurisdiction that limits their cooperation with the federal government’s effort to enforce immigration law.
California itself has deemed itself a sanctuary state and other cities include places like Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Portland, Oregon.
Mayorkas also revealed during the meeting he’s working on a new set of guidelines to govern ICE officers’ arrests and attempts to deport illegal immigrants.
Pressed by ICE employees worried about public resistance, Mayorkas said the agency has a ‘noble mission.’
Mayorkas served during Barack Obama as head of ICE and later as deputy secretary at DHS under then-Secretary Jeh Johnson.
Some feel Mayorkas is just fronting for ICE employees without the intentions to follow through with some of these plans.
‘I’ve seen this administration say a lot of things that I feel like they’re disingenuous about, and they know they can’t deliver on, but they pretend and leave their audience to believe they can deliver on. That’s what I see here,’ a former DHS official told the Times.
During the forum, employees pleaded for a firmer stance amid the current migrant surge.
One employee lamented that DHS was treating illegal immigrants more leniently regarding COVID-19 restrictions than American citizens.
Others questioned the new administration’s border policy changes, claiming Trump’s policies appeared to be working to curb the immigration crisis.
One employee complained, according to the Times, of ‘notoriously low morale’ and blamed Washington for its lack of support.
Under Trump there was a lot of freedom to target illegal immigrants with criminal records, which allowed agents and officers to pursue deportation against anyone in the country without permission or legal status.
With Biden in office, however, ICE has been given much stricter rules.
The priorities of the new administration have seen ICE book-ins cut by 62%, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.
Mayorkas defended the stricter priorities, saying: ‘Every law enforcement agency to which I have been a part, or which I have worked, has priorities in light of the fact that it doesn’t have unlimited resources.’
‘I know there may be disagreements about where those lines are drawn, and we’re going to be talking about that in the coming weeks,’ he added.
The DHS lead promised ‘discretion’ and said the final guidelines won’t be ‘set in stone.’
Biden’s administration is facing record numbers of migrants arriving at the southern border and federal government holding facilities are ‘stretched beyond thin,’ according to an independent report concluded after a visit to the sites.
House Whip Steve Sacalise is leading a delegation of 10 Republican members to the southern border to assess the conditions, which have been described as ‘inhumane’ and ‘horrific.’
Vice President Kamala Harris, who was designated border czar by Biden last month, has faced a slew of backlash for not yet visiting the border. Seemingly, Harris has not done anything yet to improve conditions at holding facilities or address problems with immigration under this administration.
NASA and other federal agencies reportedly sent out emails to their employees asking if they are willing to volunteer at the overcrowded child migrant facilities.
Mayorkas defend Biden canceling border wall construction, telling ICE employees during last week’s meeting that it leaves ‘room to make decisions’ on finishing ‘gaps in the wall.’
‘It’s not a single answer to a single question. There are different projects that the chief of the Border Patrol has presented and the acting commissioner of CBP [Customs and Border Protection] presented to me,’ Mayorkas said, according to notes of the ICE session reviewed by the Times.
‘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,’ he continued. ‘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.’
On February 11, Biden ended Trump’s southern border emergency, which was issued through executive order in February 2019.
Many illegal immigrants are able to easily cross through areas of the border where barriers were left incomplete
Mayorkas said restarting construction would help fill ‘gaps in the wall’ as Biden’s administration faces an increased immigration crisis and record numbers of illegal crossers
The gaps, like this one in El Paso, Texas, allow migrants to cross into the U.S. by foot and exacerbate the ongoing crisis
Here many large unfinished gaps can be seen in the border fencing in Cameron County, Texas
Migrants from Central America continue to arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border
Biden has vowed not to turn away any children who arrive without adults at the border, leading to massive overcrowding at border facilities, sometimes by nearly 2,000% of mass capacity
In the reversal, Biden slammed Trump by saying: ‘Building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border is not a serious policy solution. It is a waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security.’
There were immediate concerns with the legality of the reversal, with experts claiming it could be illegal for Biden to stop funding that was already appropriate in Congress-approved funding for the wall specifically.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) launched an inquiry last month related to Biden stopping funding for the border wall construction project.
The president campaigned on the promise of immediately ending the building work along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Charles Young, a public affairs officer for the GAO, confirmed they were investigating whether Biden was legally allowed to end the construction.
Congress approved nearly $1.4 billion in border wall funding in December 2020 for fiscal year 2021 as part of a $900 billion coronavirus stimulus package under Trump.
Chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee Roy Blunt slammed Biden for the change, claiming as a 36-year veteran of the Senate, he should know procedure better.
‘He was in the Congress a long time,’ Blunt said. ‘He knows it’s the Congress’ job to authorize how the money is spent and the president’s job to spend it efficiently.’
It now appears that Biden could be reversing his reversal by going forward with construction of the wall – at least in some parts.
Mayorkas says these new projects at the wall could include filling in ‘gaps,’ adding ‘gates’ and reconciling areas ‘where the wall has been completed but the technology has not been implemented.’
Notes of the meeting show CBP, the agency that oversees the border wall, has submitted a plan for what it wants to see implemented.
Border and immigration agencies are struggling to find places for the mass amount of migrants.
While Biden’s administration vows they are turning away the majority of adults and family units, they claim they will not turn away unaccompanied children arriving at the border.
A record 19,000 unaccompanied minors arrived at the southern border in March while thousands of adults are also risking their lives to try and get into the U.S. by way of Mexico.
Esto prueba que el muro fronterizo no sirve de mucho, mejor equipo tecnológico si. Aquí 20 migrantes cruzan por un hueco en el muro, sin embargo, una camara los detecta y son detenidos más adelante. Esto ocurrió en Arizona, según publica la misma patrulla fronteriza. pic.twitter.com/LoOxbI73Tf
— Pedro Ultreras (@pedroultreras) April 5, 2021
In Douglas, Arizona, a gap is filled with vehicle barriers that don’t stop people crossing on foot
Record numbers of unaccompanied minors have been flooding the southern border as Biden vows not to turn them away
Asylum-seeking migrant families wait to be transported by Border Patrol after crossing the Rio Grande river into the U.S. Monday night
In March, a record number of 19,000 unaccompanied minors arrived at the southern border while thousands of adults are also risking their lives to try and get into the U.S. by way of Mexico
Facilities at the border are overflowing with migrants, some reaching nearly 2,000% of its mass capacity.
A report filed Friday in a Los Angeles federal court, two inspectors appointed to monitor conditions of children in custody detailed ‘severe overcrowding’ that is further problematic in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Social distancing was ‘functionally impossible’, the experts said, calling the overcrowding ‘not sustainable.’
Trump received a lot of criticism for the border crisis under his administration where families were seen separated into different facilities when they arrived at the border.
Conditions were denounced as inhuman as children were pictured in cages.
The conditions, however, appear to be not nearly as bad as that under Biden, who has stopped border wall construction and issued more lax immigration policies since taking office.
Upon leaving Washington in January, about 460 miles of border wall were completed under Trump’s presidency with funds directed after he declared a national emergency at the border so Pentagon funds could be used for construction.
Most was fixing or filling in areas where some sort of barrier already existed or replacing outdated designs or vehicle barriers that did nothing to stop people crossing on foot.
Here Customs and Border Protection created a makeshift, temporary processing and holding facility outside and under a highway as they are overwhelmed with the thousands of migrants flooding the southern border
Trump was particular about his promised border wall, with some reports indicating he micromanaged several aspects of the construction, like color and design.
During his last few days as president, Trump visited his wall to celebrate 400 miles completed – where he also penned his name on a paper attached to the wall with his famous bold signature.
During Biden’s campaign, he promised all migrants seeking asylum would be granted it in the U.S. This led to several caravans from Central America departing for the U.S. when Biden was named the presidential election winner.
Since taking office, the crisis at the border has surged.
CBP’s projected numbers show illegal crossings reaching 26,000 in September – a record high more than double that during Trump’s administration.
During Trump’s presidency, more than 400 miles of border wall was constructed with funds appropriated under a national emergency memorandum that redirected Pentagon money
Biden immediately froze funds on Day One and later ended the emergency order which brought a halt to all border wall construction and left several projects unfinished with gaps
‘Somebody could kidnap me, I’m scared’: Moment sobbing migrant boy approaches Texas border patrol after being abandoned and spending night in desert
By Adry Torres For DailyMail.com
Video footage recorded by U.S. Border Patrol officer captured the heartbreaking moment a crying migrant child sought help after being abandoned near the Mexico-United States border in southern Texas .
With tears in his eyes, the migrant boy can be seen in the video walking towards the Border Patrol agent before he asked him if he could provide him assistance because he had been left stranded near the Rio Grande.
‘It’s that I was coming with a group and they abandoned me and I do not know where they are at,’ the child told the officer.
‘You do not know where they are at? They left you alone?’ the agent asked.
The distraught child, struggling to maintain his composure, apparently had been sent to the United States by his parents, who were not part of the migrant group who had already advanced further along the desert area.
‘At the end they abandoned me. I have come here to ask you for help,’ the frightened boy said.
A migrant boy, who was abandoned in southern Texas after crossing over from Mexico, was recorded on video in tears and asking a U.S. Border Patrol agent for help last Thursday. The child had spent the night in the desert after he was abandoned by the group of migrants he had crossed the border with and feared he would be ‘abducted.’ U.S. Customs and Border Protection has not released the child’s age or nationality
A U.S. Border Patrol agent traveling on a dirt road east of Rio Grande City found an abandoned migrant boy crying and asking for assistance last Thursday after he had been abandoned by a group of migrants that had illegally crossed the Mexico-United States
The Border Patrol agent then questioned the child if he had been instructed ‘to come ask for help,’ but the migrant boy replied, ‘no, I am coming because if I did not, where am I going to go? Somebody could abduct me, kidnap me. I am scared.’
The incident reportedly took place east of Rio Grande City on April 1 after the border agent had finished his shift, his friend Anjel Hernandez wrote on Facebook.
Univision reported that the child, whose age and nationality have not been made public by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, spent the entire night trekking through the Rio Grande Valley region after his unlawful entry into the country.
U.S. Border Patrol El Paso Sector chief Gloria Chavez told the network that parents should think about their children’s well-being each time they are sent alone to cross the perilous Mexico-United States border.
‘To all parents who are considering sending their unaccompanied children to the border, please reconsider that act because it is very dangerous to expose children,’ Chavez said.
Human smuggling networks, who according to NBC News, have used public Facebook pages to hawk their services to Central American migrants have warned parents that their children would be guaranteed access across the Mexico-United States border if they travel alone.
The painful image of the child asking the Border Patrol officer was recorded just two days after U.S. Border Patrol released a surveillance video that showed human smugglers dropping two girls from Ecuador over a 14-foot high border wall in the New Mexico desert.
The sisters, aged three and five, were rescued by agents Tuesday and transferred to the Santa Teresa Border Patrol Station for medical evaluation.
Fox News obtained a photo Friday, that shows the girls interacting with Chavez, who handed them snacks at the processing center.
The sisters from Ecuador, who are aged three and five, were pictured interacting with El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez after being rescued
Official CBP figures show that apprehensions at the border have increased for 10 consecutive months, including the last nine of former President Donald Trump’s administration.
President Joe Biden’s administration has encountered a surge at the southern border over the last two months.
In February, CBP agents encountered 100,441 undocumented immigrants, including 9,457 unaccompanied migrant minors.
Government data shows that 171,000 migrants were caught by CBP at the United States-Mexico border in March, the highest monthly total in two decades. Border agents encountered at least 19,000 unaccompanied children.
The preliminary tallies for March are the highest since the agency reported more than 180,000 encounters with migrants in April 2000.