Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is back on Capitol Hill facing questions about the immigration problems along the Southern Border.
Watch the hearing in the video player above.
Mayorkas says we need to figure out what is leading the influx from the Northern Triangle countries, creating legal pathways for immigrants and real immigration reform.
The secretary’s comments came during a hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Thursday.
This comes as President Joe Biden faces one of the most serious challenges of his young presidency – high numbers of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border to seek asylum.
April was the second-busiest month on record for unaccompanied children encountered at the border, following March’s all-time high.
The Border Patrol encountered 18,663 unaccompanied children in March, well above previous highs of 11,475 in May 2019 and 10,620 in June 2014.
The agency started publishing the numbers in 2009. Before then, adults made up the vast majority of those crossing the border.
March’s count was roughly double the number of unaccompanied children encountered by the Border Patrol in February and more than five times the number in March 2020.
The huge increase in children traveling alone — some as young as 3 — and families has severely strained border holding facilities, which aren’t allowed to hold people for more than three days but often do.
It’s left the government scrambling to find space and hire staff to care for children longer term until they can be placed with sponsors.
Biden exempts unaccompanied children from expulsion, allowing them to stay in the U.S. while pursuing asylum claims.
Families with young children are also often released in the U.S. while their cases wind through the bottlenecked immigration courts.