Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will visit a Texas border facility on Friday, after a House Democratic critic of the administration’s immigration policies complained that child immigrants were being moved ‘from one tent to the other tent.’
Mayorkas will tour the Donna, Texas processing facility, KVEO-TV reported. While there, Mayorkas will get updates on unaccompanied children who continue to come across the border, posting a logistical challenge for the government.
He will also view a Customs and Border Protection facility where images released by the government show a considerable reduction in crowding.
His trip comes after Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar accused the Biden administration of moving unaccompanied minors from one border facility to another to create the impression it is emptying crowded holding areas.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is visiting the border Friday
The White House had no response when asked about the comments Thursday during President Biden’s day trip to Louisiana.
It is the fourth border visit by Mayorkas and his last since April.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who has taken heat for not yet visiting the border despite her role focusing on root causes of immigration, will meet virtually Friday morning with Mexico’s president, Manuel Lopez-Obrador.
The U.S. has long sought ways to get Mexico to cooperate in stemming the tide of immigration from its side of the border, including from Northern Triangle countries in Central America.
Mexico is seeking assistance combatting gun trafficking, and is now contending with the collapse of a subway in Mexico City.
Cuellar, a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, accused the Department of Health and Human Services this week of moving immigrants out of the CBP tents to secure better images of its crowded Donna, Texas facility.
‘All they’re doing is, they’re moving kids from one tent to the other tent and saying: “Oh, they’re not in the Border Patrol (custody). But they’re right next door,”‘ Cuellar said.
Vice President Kamala Harris holds a zoom with Mexican President Manuel Lopez Obrador
Mexican President Manuel Lopez Obrador forged ties with former President Donald Trump
Cuellar was referencing the effort to transfer minors from Customs and Border Control custody to HHS. The law requires they be transferred within a 72 hour period, although the Administration struggled to comply amid a surge at the border this spring.
He told Border Report the minors held in government custody were simply moved to nearby tent facilities operated by HHS.
‘But they’re right next door. They’re just next door in HHS,’ he said.
He said officials ‘set up maybe five tents that are run by HHS.’
The HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement reported this week that there are currently 22,195 unaccompanied children in its custody – a new record. Additionally, 2,000 children are being held by other federal agencies, the Washington Examiner reported.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki appeared Thursday on former Obama advisor David Axelrod’s podcast, and provided her most fulsome explanation for why Biden has resisted calls that he visit the border.
‘We’re often asked, “Why doesn’t he go to the border?”‘ she told Axelrod. ‘Important issue. We’re focused on it,’ she said.
‘What percentage of the public is focused on the border? A much smaller percentage than who’s focused on the pandemic and the economy. So that may be maddening, but, you know, that’s what we try to do,’ she added.
A government handout photo shows the temporary processing facilities for migrants in Donna, Texas, U.S., April 30, 2021. U.S. officials have reduced the number of unaccompanied children held in border stations in recent weeks as children have been moved to emergency shelters. But Rep. Henry Cuellar says children are being moved from one tent to another
LAST MONTH: In this March 30, 2021, file photo young minors lie inside a pod at the Donna Department of Homeland Security holding facility, the main detention center for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in Donna, Texas.
In this March 30, 2021, file photo, young unaccompanied migrants, from ages 3 to 9, watch television inside a playpen at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, the main detention center for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley, in Donna, Texas.
‘All they’re doing is, they’re moving kids from one tent to the other tent and saying: “Oh, they’re not in the Border Patrol (custody). But they’re right next door,”‘ said Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.). The administration released images showing a sharp decrease in crowding at the Donna, Texas facility pictured above
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.)
Homeland Security officials this week released photos showing its previously crowded Donna facilities had been emptied out considerably compared to a few weeks ago.
Harris said Wednesday she is likely to visit Mexico and Guatemala in early June as she seeks to address the root causes of immigration.
The Biden administration on Wednesday cited a 90 per cent drop in people held in Border Patrol custody – 600 at the end of April compared to 5,000 in March.
‘The amount of time children spend in CBP custody is down 75 percent, from 131 hours at the end of March to under 30 hours now,’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
‘After four years of an immigration system rooted in destructive and chaotic policies, President Biden is taking the challenge head on and building a fair, orderly and humane immigration system, that is our objective,’ she added.
HHS has opened 14 new emergency shelters to deal with the problem.
DailyMail.com has reached out to HHS for additional comment.