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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was questioned before the Senate Judiciary Committee by Ted Cruz and other senators about immigrants who cross the border illegally and after brief detention are released with an appointment for a hearing.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which reports to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), reported that it made 1,734,686 migrant apprehensions in the entire fiscal 2021 period, compared to 458,088 in fiscal 2020.
In October, CBP made 164,303 apprehensions, a decrease of 18% from the previous month.
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mayorkas stated that “the vast majority” of undocumented migrants apprehended after crossing the border appear in immigration court hearings.
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) reminded Mayorkas that in September the official had told lawmakers that undocumented immigrants detained and released without a hearing date who did not appear before Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within 60 days were a “priority” for deportation.
Lankford demanded that the official clarify an alleged ICE initiative whereby more than 78,000 migrants released without a hearing date and who have ignored the 60-day deadline have not in fact been arrested.
The senator also said that more than 107,000 migrants had been released with notices for court hearings.
Mayorkas responded that “approximately 75 percent have indeed reported within the timeframe or within their reporting timeframe. And as to those who have failed to report, that would qualify as an enforcement priority of ours.”
Ted Cruz (R-TX), asked how many minors have been detained so far this year, to which Mayorkas replied that “approximately 125,000 unaccompanied minors” have been transferred to the care of health services.
Mayorkas and Cruz immediately got tangled in an exchange after the senator asked “how many children have been in the Bidens cages in calendar year 2021.”
“Senator, I respectfully disagree with your use of the term ‘cages,’” Mayorkas said in response.
“I’ve been to the Biden cages, I’ve seen the Biden cages. How many children have you detained at the Donna [Texas] tent facility in the cages you built to hold kids? How many children have been in those cages?” insisted Cruz.
However, the Homeland Security secretary brushed off Senator Cruz’s questions and said he did not know what he was referring to.