Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas insisted during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will still maintain control of the border amid the expected tidal wave of migrants following the end of Title 42.
“It is our responsibility to maintain operational control of the border. That is what our personnel are dedicated to doing. That is what the personnel throughout the department and I as a secretary are dedicated in doing,” Mayorkas said at the hearing after Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security John Katko asked about the surge in immigrants since the announcement that Title 42 would be lifted.
“We will not lose operational control at the border,” Mayorkas added.
Title 42 is a public health order put in place by former President Donald Trump at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing the U.S. to block nearly 2 million migrants from entering the U.S. The order is set to expire in late May.
The White House previously acknowledged that repealing Title 42 would add to a significant increase in migrants entering the country at the southern border.
“I’ve spoken to the rank and file agents and officers on the frontlines of border crises again and again, and they have consistently and repeatedly told me they are overwhelmed and understaffed,” Katko said to Mayorkas during the hearing. “Border Patrol agents have also told me that once Title 42 authority ends, they will see an even bigger surge of migrants attempting to cross, in fact unprecedented surges, and they will lose operational control of some or all of the Southwest border.”
There have been 209,906 people arrested at the southern border in March, the highest figure since March 2020. In 2021, there were roughly 2 million migrants crossing the border illegally, marking the highest yearly total to date.