Former President Donald Trump slammed Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who spent Sunday morning defending the Biden administration’s handling of the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The latest tweemail from the 45th president, who was permanently banned from Twitter after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, came after Mayorkas appeared on CNN’s State of the Union, Fox News Sunday, NBC’s Meet the Press, and ABC’s This Week, and made headlines for blaming the Trump administration for the surge of migrants trying to enter the country rather than policies adopted by President Biden.
Trump zeroed in on “catch and release” policies, in which authorities detain illegal immigrants and then release them with notices to appear in court, called for an inquiry into allegations of a “gag order” limiting press access, and urged Biden to continue construction of a border wall.
“The pathetic, clueless performance of Secretary Mayorkas on the Sunday Shows today was a national disgrace. His self-satisfied presentation — in the middle of the massive crisis he helped engineer — is yet more proof he is incapable of leading DHS,” Trump wrote in the statement sent through his office in Florida. “Even someone of Mayorkas’ limited abilities should understand that if you provide Catch-and-Release to the world’s illegal aliens then the whole world will come.”
Trump called for a congressional investigation into reports about the Biden administration’s refusal to allow lawyers and journalists access to border facilities, which have been subjected to overcrowding due to the surge of migrants crossing the border.
“The Mayorkas Gag Order on our Nation’s heroic border agents and ICE officers should be the subject of an immediate congressional investigation. But it’s clear they are engaged in a huge cover-up to hide just how bad things truly are,” he said. “The only way to end the Biden Border Crisis is for them to admit their total failure and adopt the profoundly effective, proven Trump policies.”
Mayorkas has denied there being such a gag order limiting media access.
“We are focused on our operations in removing children from those crowded Border Patrol stations, to the Health and Human Services facilitates that can best shelter them,” the secretary said on Meet the Press. “And we are also working on providing access so the American public can, in a safe way, without jeopardizing our operations, see what is going on. We’re working on that.”
The former president, who said his administration “proudly handed the Biden Administration the most secure border in history,” also called for Biden to resume construction on Trump’s border wall, which Biden quickly halted upon assuming office on Jan. 20.
During his appearance on Fox News Sunday, Mayorkas said argued Trump’s policies, not Biden’s, are at fault for the current situation.
“What we are seeing is the result of President Trump’s dismantlement of the safe and orderly immigration processes that were built over many, many years by presidents of both parties,” Mayorkas said. “That’s what we are seeing, and that’s why it’s taking time for us to execute our plans to administer the humanitarian claims of vulnerable children. That’s what this is about.”
The United States is contending with a surge of migrants, particularly unaccompanied children, crossing the southern border. Federal officials say more than 100,000 migrants were encountered at the border in February, and reports indicate an unprecedented 117,000 migrant children are set to enter the U.S. by the end of the year. The most recent border surge saw the arrival of 80,000 unaccompanied minors at the southwestern border in 2019.
Some migrants point to the change in White House policies, notably Biden’s reversal of Trump’s policy of returning unaccompanied minors to Mexico, as the impetus for their journeys to the border. One Brazilian migrant who recently entered the U.S. said he “definitely” wouldn’t have tried to cross the border during the Trump years.
Biden officials have refused to call the surge a “crisis” or a “disaster,” instead terming the situation a “challenge.” Mayorkas called the situation a “challenge” that the administration is currently “managing.”