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  4. Secretary Mayorkas Delivers Remarks Following an Operational Briefing

Secretary Mayorkas Delivers Remarks Following an Operational Briefing

Release Date: June 26, 2024

Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas delivered the following remarks following an operational briefing in Tucson, Arizona

Good morning, and thank you very much for being here today.

Three weeks ago, in the face of Congressional inaction, President Biden used his executive authority and suspended the entry of noncitizens across the southern border. We are imposing stricter consequences for those who cross the border without authorization. These actions are changing the calculus for those considering crossing our border.

Still, as I will continue to make clear, they are no substitute for Congressional action. The bipartisan border agreement would have added 1,500 Border Patrol agents and CBP Officers; added 1,200 Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel; and more. We are continuing to call on Congress to provide the resources we need to support our men and women on the frontlines of our border.

I just received an operational briefing on the success of the President’s action so far here in the Tucson sector and along out southern border, and the incredible work of our personnel. Our team did an exceptional job quickly implementing this new policy and we are already seeing the results. Here in Tucson, we have seen a more than 45 percent drop in U.S. Border Patrol encounters since the President took action, and repatriations of encountered individuals in Tucson have increased by nearly 150 percent. As a result, in Tucson we have seen a more than 80 percent decrease in individuals placed into immigration proceedings and our backlogged court system.

Across the entire southern border, Border Patrol encounters have dropped by over 40 percent. We are removing more noncitizens without a legal basis to stay here, nearly doubling the rate at which we are removing noncitizens directly from Border Patrol custody, here in Tucson and across the southern border. In three weeks, we have operated over 100 international repatriation flights to more than 20 countries and removed or returned more than 24,000 individuals.

The President’s actions are working because of their tough response to illegal crossings and because they build on our sustained efforts to exercise our full authorities to enforce the law and impose consequences for illegal entry. We are attacking the smuggling organizations that prey on the vulnerable even as the smugglers try to undermine our actions. We are also working with partner nations in the region and building lawful pathways for people to seek humanitarian relief in a safe and orderly way.

This is all being executed by our incredible personnel. CBP Border Patrol Agents, Field Operations Officers, Air and Marine Agents, ICE ERO officers and HSI Agents, USCIS asylum officers, and others in DHS and across the federal government have done incredible work implementing the President’s executive actions and meeting the challenges at the border. I want to recognize the leadership here, and the people whom they lead, some of whom are behind you, for the incredible work they do every single day, so very many of them at personal risk.

I want to reiterate: this is no substitute – the executive actions are no substitute – for Congressional action. Only Congress can deliver a full and lasting solution. Only Congress, through legislation, can fix what everyone agrees is a broken immigration system that was last updated almost 30 years ago.

Only Congress can give us the resources we need. We have been under-resourced for decades. We need timely funds to hire more agents, officers, and support personnel; to buy, install and maintain more technology; hire more judges to move cases faster; and equip us to remove more quickly people who do not qualify for relief, and more. Only Congress can provide these funds.

The needed fixes to our broken immigration system, and the resources that our frontline agents and officers have repeatedly asked for and deserve, were exactly what the Senate’s bipartisan border security bill would have delivered. It was bipartisan legislation that was negotiated for months and would have delivered the toughest border measures in decades. But politics got in the way.

The President took action. The border security steps we’ve taken over the past eighteen months are bringing order.

With that, we’ll open it up to your questions.

Last Updated: 06/26/2024
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