New charts reveals exactly how Joe Biden‘s inauguration triggered a surge of immigrants arriving at the southern border, despite repeated claims from administration officials that they inherited a broken system.
The graphs – showing that border detentions and child arrivals dropped to their lowest level in years at the end of 2020 before rocketing as soon as Biden took office – derailed efforts by the top U.S. homeland security official to deliver a rosy message when he appeared before senators on Thursday.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was forced on the defensive after Sen. Ron Johnson produced his dramatic red chart displaying ‘border apprehensions.’
Republican senators used a graph compiled by the office of Sen. Ron Johnson during a hearing to demonstrate how a surge in arrivals at the border coincided with Joe Biden’s inauguration
Sen. Mitt Romney said he found it ‘stunning’ that Mayorkas believed things were going well at the border when the data suggested a very different picture was emerging
This chart shows how the number of unaccompanied children at the border soared after Biden’s Inauguration
‘The first step in solving any problem is admitting you have one,’ said Johnson during a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
‘And it just seems like we’re in a state of denial.’
‘This is President Biden’s inauguration. Here’s the surge. That’s the surge.’
He pointed to measures taken by Trump to reduce immigration, such as working with Mexico on keep families from heading north or the use of Title 42 – a public health code that bars entry to people that may present a risk – to turn back anyone arriving with COVID-19, and how they coincided with steep declines in arrivals.
‘It really worked. We pretty well stopped a robust surge of illegal immigration at the border and that was pretty much in effect,’ he said.
‘It started ramping up with Democratic presidential candidates started talking about open borders and free healthcare.’
Briefly pausing for dramatic effect, he turned back to the red bar graph behind him and pointed out Jan. 20 with his finger.
Biden’s top Homeland Security official Alejandro Mayorkas was forced on to the defensive as Republican senators grilled him using a graph showing how border apprehensions increased as soon as Biden took power
Migrants from Colombia wave their hands after crossing the United States and Mexico border to turn themselves over to authorities on May 13, 2021 in Yuma, Arizona
‘This is President Biden’s inauguration,’ he said.
‘Here’s the surge. That’s the surge.’
From about 7,000 unaccompanied children arriving each month in early 2018, the number dropped to 741 after Title 42 was enacted.
Now it is running at about 17,000 a month, he added.
In one of his first acts after taking office, Biden moved to reverse some of Trump’s restrictive immigration policies.
But now his administration must contend with a surge in immigrants arriving at the border with Mexico.
About 173,000 migrants were picked up in April, the highest monthly total in 20 years.
Republicans say the result is a crisis triggered by a more liberal regime. But Biden and his officials insist it is the legacy of Trump’s efforts to dismantle the immigration system and they refuse to call it a ‘crisis.’
For his part, Mayorkas repeatedly referred to the problems as a ‘challenge.’
He said the Biden administration had made progress in ensuring that children were not being held at crowded border stations, reducing the number from 5,700 in late March to less than 500 this week.
‘The challenge is not behind us, but the results are dramatic,’ Mayorkas said.
Law enforcement officers search migrants from Columbia, after they turned themselves over to authorities at the United States and Mexico border May 12, 2021 in Yuma, Arizona
However, the graphs, compiled from Customs and Border Protection data, was used by a string of Republican senators to question his optimistic view that the administration’s position that it was not to blame.
Sen. Mitt Romney expressed his incredulity at what he was being told.
‘I must admit that I have found this hearing to be stunning in that it seems Mr Secretary that you’re proud of the progress being made by the administration, that things are going well at the border,’ he said.
‘And, and I look at this chart that was prepared by Senator Johnson, and I see an extraordinary crisis, I mean, do you recognize this as an alarming crisis?’
‘Senator, I look at immigration as a challenge that has been persistent for many many years … ‘ he said before being cut off.