WATCH: Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas testifies on Title 42 in Senate hearing

U. S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says to “expect migration levels to increase” as he outlines a more robust effort to enforce U.S. immigration law without the use of Title 42, which was invoked at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Watch the hearing in the player above.

Mayorkas testified before the House Appropriations subcommittee on Homeland Security’s 2023 fiscal budget Wednesday telling lawmakers, “Our department has been executing a comprehensive strategy to secure our borders and rebuild our immigration system. With the Title 42 public health order set to be lifted we expect migration levels to increase.”

WATCH: House committee hearing on COVID-19 immigration rule Title 42 and asylum at the border

“We will continue to enforce our immigration laws after Title 42 is lifted,” Mayorkas said.

The Biden administration released a plan Tuesday to deal with an expected increase in already high numbers of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border from the planned lifting of a public health order that prevents people from seeking asylum – and that Republican and some Democratic lawmakers insist should be kept in place.

The plan includes increasing the number of personnel in the border region from Customs and Border Protection and other federal agencies, expanding detention capacity with the use of temporary facilities and aggressively deploying a process known as expedited removal to deport migrants who do not qualify for asylum or some other relief under U.S. law.

It also relies on new Department of Homeland Security initiatives intended to streamline the evaluation of migrant claims, such as the deployment of asylum officers to the border to help determine whether someone should be granted temporary legal residency until an immigration court rules on their case.

Unmentioned is the fact that a court could soon order the government to reverse course and halt plans to lift Title 42 on May 23 because of lawsuits filed by Republican-led states.

Migrants have been expelled more than 1.8 million times under the rule, which was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under former President Donald Trump.

Advocates for asylum-seekers support the end to the rule, which they say endangers people fleeing persecution back home and violates rights to seek protection under U.S. law and international treaty. The states challenging the administration say the U.S. is not ready for a likely influx of migrants resulting from the rule’s end, straining public services.

It comes amid what the administration concedes are historic numbers of migrants attempting to cross the border due to factors that include economic and political turmoil in Latin America, as well as a backlog of people hoping to seek asylum.

Mayorkas also during his testimony emphasized the need for Ukrainians seeking to enter the United States do not do so through the U.S. – Mexico border.

“That is not the way to do it,” he said.

The Biden administration is making it easier for refugees fleeing Russia’s war on Ukraine to come to the United States from Europe while trying to shut down an informal route through northern Mexico that has emerged in recent weeks.

Under a program recently announced, the U.S. will streamline refugee applications for Ukrainians and others fleeing the fighting but will no longer routinely grant entry to those who show up at the U.S.-Mexico border seeking asylum.

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