Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made the full round of Sunday morning talk show appearances this weekend to defend the Biden administration’s handling of the influx of migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. His message across all of the interviews was consistent: Give us time, we’re still cleaning up Donald Trump’s mess.
On ABC’s This Week, which was hosted from the border by Martha Raddatz, Mayorkas began by trying to clarify what his interviewer described as “mixed” messages. “The message is quite clear: Do not come. The border is closed. The border is secure,” he declared, adding, “We are encouraging children not to come, now is not the time to come.”
Asked directly why DHS was “not prepared” for this latest surge, the secretary said his team has a “plan” to deal with the crisis that “will succeed” but added, “It takes time.”
“Why does it take time now? Why is it especially challenging and difficult now?” he asked. “Because the entire system under United States law that has been in place throughout administrations of both parties was dismantled in its entirety by the Trump administration. So we are rebuilding the system as we address the needs of vulnerable children who arrive at our borders, and that is what it is all about.”
Mayorkas made nearly identical arguments to CNN’s Dana Bash and Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who also pressed the secretary to explain a lack of transparency for press at the border.
Wallace confronted his guest about a congressional delegation that had no media access, asking, “Why did you refuse to allow reporters to see the conditions under which these minors are being held?”
The secretary pointed to the pandemic, telling him, “We’re working on providing footage so that the American public can see the border patrol stations.”
“Respectfully, sir, I think that there is a safe condition under which a pool reporter and a pool camera crew could go into some of these facilities,” Wallace replied, “and record the conditions under which these minors are being held. It seems to me to say it’s impossible to do because of COVID sounds like an excuse.”