Mayorkas, Psaki unprepared for questions on migrant data

by mcardinal

Chris Lange, FISM News


Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas defended his inability, for the second day in a row, to provide the number of migrants being processed and their whereabouts, citing 18-hour work days.

Mayorkas admitted that he did not have data “readily available” when pressed by Republican Congressman Carlos Giminez during Wednesday’s virtual hearing with the House Homeland Security Committee, offering to provide “specific data” at a later time. 

“Well, sir, yesterday you were asked exactly the same question, and you gave exactly the same answer,” said Gimenez. “You’d think you’d be a little bit better prepared.” 

“Well, Congressman, let me share something with you quite clearly,” Mayorkas said. “I work 18 hours a day. Okay? So when I returned from yesterday’s hearing, I actually focused on mission. We will get that data, both to the senator who posed it yesterday and to you, congressman, today.” 

At Tuesday’s hearing, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) asked Mayorkas to provide at least a “ballpark” estimate of how many migrants are still being detained, how many have been deported, and how many have been released into the U.S.

When Johnson pressed Mayorkas for the current data, Mayorkas said, “Senator, I do not have that data before me.”

In a Wednesday briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki referred a reporter to the DHS when she was asked about migrant numbers, stating that they “would have the most up-to-date numbers.”  

When Fox News Reporter Peter Doocy, responded that Mayorkas didn’t know the number, Psaki shot back, “I am confident that he wanted to have the most up-to-date numbers and we will venture to get you those – I promise, this afternoon.” She also defended the White House, saying that there is “certainly not” a disproportionate amount of migrants being released into the U.S.

This month, between 12,000 and 15,000 mostly-Haitian immigrants have illegally crossed the southern border, camping out beneath the Del Rio International Bridge in Texas. Mayorkas stated Tuesday that the number in the encampment has dropped to 10,000. It is unclear how many of the migrants are in CBP custody or how many will be released or deported. 

Arrests of illegal immigrants at the southern border have risen dramatically since President Biden took office in January. According to Customs and Border Protection data, nearly 209,000 arrests were made in August alone.

It’s not clear when the updated migrant data will be released.