US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, has criticized former US President, Donald Trump, for ‘entirely gutting’ the US immigration system. Mayorkas said: “We are having to rebuild out of the depths of cruelty.”
During a White House press briefing, the recently confirmed DHS secretary said: “We are dedicated to achieving, and are working around the clock, to replace the cruelty of the past administration with an orderly, humane and safe immigration process. It is hard and it will take time but rest assured we are going to get it done.”
Mayorkas was scathing in his assessment of the destruction caused by Trump to the US immigration system, saying: “When I started 27 days ago I learned that we did not have the facilities available or equipped to administer the humanitarian laws our Congress passed years ago.”
Torn down Central American minors process
The DHS Secretary highlighted how Trump has ‘torn down’ the Central American minors process, which prevented youngsters from having to make the dangerous journey to the US border, and how the former President had cut off funding to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Mayorkas also claimed that the Trump administration had entered into a number of contracts that he described as ‘unlawful’ or ‘against the interests of the United States Department of Justice.’
Meanwhile, Mr Mayorkas urged people thinking of coming to the US border for humanitarian relief to ‘rethink those plans’. He said: “They need to wait. It takes time to rebuild the system from scratch.”
“If people come, we are obligated to, in the service of public health, to impose the travel restrictions under the CDC’s authorities and return them to Mexico. Families and single adults are in fact being returned under the COVID-19 restrictions.”
Trump child separation policy
Mayorkas also slammed Trump’s child separation policy, which saw thousands of families forcibly split during the former President’s time in office. The DHS Secretary described the policy as ‘one of the most powerful and heartbreaking examples of the cruelty that preceded this [the Biden] administration.’
He said: “This is an all of government and all of society effort to do what is right. We hope to reunite children with their parents either in the US or in their country of origin.”
Mr Mayorkas explained how the government would ‘explore legal pathways’ for families affected to remain in the US. He said that the Biden administration had so far reunited 105 families.
Commenting on the US asylum system, the DHS Secretary said: “We will dig out of the cruelty of the past administration and we will rebuild this country’s asylum system. The urgency of it cannot be overstated.”
The Biden administration has come in for some criticism over its US immigration policy. Many have claimed that Biden is ‘opening up the US’ to a surge of illegal immigrants at the border, with some arguing that it will leave the border in crisis.
However, Mayorkas ended his White House press briefing, denying that there was a ‘crisis’ at the border. He did admit that his department is ‘facing challenges’ in handing the situation.
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