Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claimed he didn’t have access to the itinerary for President Biden’s trip to El Paso, Texas despite being on Air Force One with the president at the time.
Mayorkas made the statement during a back-and-forth with reporters while flying to Texas on Sunday on the way to the U.S.-Mexico border for Biden’s first visit of his presidency as border officials continue sounding the alarm at the ongoing crisis.
“How closely will President Biden actually see some of the crowding that’s taking place in El Paso? Will he see any people in the streets in the downtown area, and will he actually be able to speak to any of the migrants who have crossed?” a reporter asked.
“Forgive me, I’m not that close to what exactly the details of the trip are,” Mayorkas responded. “I know he’s going to see, as [White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre] mentioned, the port of entry, which I think is the second busiest port along the border.
“But I don’t know the details of the itinerary,” he added.
BIDEN ADMIN FACING THIRD YEAR OF CRISIS AT THE SOUTHERN BORDER WITH UNCERTAIN IMMIGRATION POLICIES IN 2023
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on "Worldwide Threats to the Homeland" on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 15, 2022.
(REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy)
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a ceremony at the White House.
(Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Biden’s visit comes as U.S. Customs and Border Protection has recorded 718,000 migrant encounters in the first 100 days of fiscal year 2023, beginning Oct. 1. October was the first month in U.S. history that the CBP recorded more than 230,000 migrant encounters, but each month since has also eclipsed that number, CBP sources told Fox News Digital.
The data show a shocking spike in migration compared to the same period in fiscal year 2022 when the CBP logged roughly 518,000 border encounters in the first quarter.
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El Paso, the site of Biden’s visit, is the most active sector of the border, with 168,000 migrant encounters recorded since Oct. 1, according to CBP. The agency said it has also recorded 78,161 “got aways” in that sector alone over the same period.
Immigrants wait to be processed by the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing the border from Mexico, with the U.S.-Mexico border barrier in the background, on Aug. 6, 2022 in Yuma, Arizona.
(Qian Weizhong/VCG via Getty Images)
Border Patrol agents stopped a caravan of 128 people after it illegally entered the U.S. from Mexico to Arizona, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
(U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
The U.S. has seen record-breaking number of border crossings throughout Biden’s tenure, and especially in the final months of 2022. The White House long sought to dismiss the surge as an annual occurrence, but historical data show the current crisis is far beyond traditional yearly surges.
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The White House also unveiled a handful of policies aimed at stemming the flow at the border as Biden announced his visit. They include expanding a humanitarian parole program for Venezuelan nationals to include Haitians, Cubans and Nicaraguans, as well as increasing refugee resettlements.