Secretary Mayorkas delivered the following remarks at a press conference in McAllen, Texas, alongside Honduran President Iris Xiomara Castro Sarmiento. These remarks are presented as prepared for delivery.
Good morning. I am grateful to President Castro and the entire Honduran delegation for visiting our border facility and observing the extraordinary work of U.S. Customs and Border Protection as they process individuals who are encountered in-between our ports of entry and placed in immigration enforcement proceedings. We will work to remove, as quickly as possible, those who do not qualify for relief under our laws.
I understand President Castro will also be visiting a facility where the Department of Health & Human Services addresses the needs of unaccompanied children encountered at the border. We admire President Castro’s global leadership in championing the well-being of children, including her partnership with us in attacking the ruthless smugglers who so cruelly exploit these children for financial gain. We are combatting these smugglers more intensely than ever before by arresting and prosecuting them, disrupting and dismantling their networks, and seizing their properties and funds.
We are seeing an increase in the number of migrants arriving at our southern border. This is a reflection of the fact that the number of displaced people, not only in the entire western hemisphere, but globally, is at an historic high. The ebbs and flows of migration are highly dynamic, but three things are not.
One, our immigration system is absolutely broken — a fact on which everyone agrees — and Congress needs to fix it. They have failed to do so for decades. Most recently, Congress has yet to act on our requests for $4 billion in funding and resources to address the immediate challenge—funding that is critical to our efforts, and for border communities. Congress is also on the verge of shutting down the government, which would leave the extraordinary men and women of DHS working without pay, including those who protect our borders.
Two, we will continue to use our authorities and resources to deliver consequences at the border for individuals who enter our country illegally and do not have a basis to remain. We will also continue to build lawful, orderly, and humane pathways for people to reach the United States outside the grip of the ruthless smugglers.
We have proven that this model works. I am grateful to the Honduran government for working with us to effectively and safely return individuals to Honduras who are ineligible for relief in the United States. We have increased the number and frequency of these return flights.
Three, our partnership with President Castro and Honduras is enduring. We share a commitment to the enforcement of the law, including the laws that provide humanitarian relief, and the values that underlie them.
We will continue to enforce our laws, work together to keep people out of the grip of smugglers, build legal and safe pathways for orderly migration, and continue our long-term efforts to address the root causes of the historic displacement of people throughout our hemisphere and around the world.