Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas contradicted on-the-ground agency officials on Wednesday, claiming that Title 42 — the public health authority used to deter illegal immigration — has not been prematurely ended by the administration.
During a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) asked Mayorkas about the administration’s premature end to Title 42. Weeks ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the administration would be ending Title 42 at the border on May 23.
Title 42 has been used for the last two years, allowing federal immigration officials to quickly return illegal aliens to their native countries after arriving at the United States-Mexico border.
Issa said during a visit to the border last week, DHS officials told him and other House Republicans that they had been ordered to begin phasing out Title 42. Similarly, sources close to Breitbart News said DHS had ordered officials to begin exempting “vulnerable populations” from Title 42 expulsion. Issa said:
When we were at the border a week ago, we saw that on your orders, orders from Washington but I have to presume they were yours, Title 42 has already ended. Your Border Patrol … Customs people were ordered to and they were bringing in every day as many as they could get from down in Mexico — Title 42 people that have been refused — and bringing them back in.
“When I asked the agent in charge, she told me that they were trying to clear the backlog completely by May 23. That is a clandestine ending of Title 42. Why did you do it?” Issa asked Mayorkas.
“I am not familiar with that. That is factually incorrect,” Mayorkas claimed. The exchange continued:
ISSA: Well, that is … a statement that multiple members on the dais saw. The question is will you come back and give us the details of who gave that order and when it began. We have been told and we have witnessed that going on at the U.S.-Mexico border. It is going on as we speak today. So would you agree to come back and give us the details of who gave that order and whether that order was lawful? [Emphasis added]
MAYORKAS: Congressman, I don’t know to what order you are referring. There is no clearing of the backlog as you have framed it. What we have begun to do is expand the use of expedited removal under Title 8 of the United States Code which is an enforcement mechanism to expedite the removal of individuals who do not have a valid basis to remain in the United States. [Emphasis added]
ISSA: Mr. Chairman, for the record … multiple members here on the dais were told by the agent in charge the time and place that they were bringing in these individuals who were in Mexico … they were waiting in Mexico, they’d been refused under Title 42, NGOs were coming, bringing them there … I understand that the secretary may not know about it, but there were multiple members who were told this by a uniformed agent. [Emphasis added]
In sworn testimony entered into the congressional record, shared with Breitbart News, Issa as well as Reps. Tom McClintock (R-CA), Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI), and Cliff Bentz (R-OR), along with their congressional staffs, stated that they were told by DHS officials at the California-Mexico border about the agency’s premature ending of Title 42.
“…numerous Customs and Border Protection agents told us they were under order to begin immediate processing in expectation of the additional large influx of migrants expected to cross our southern border when Title 42 is withdrawn on May 23, 2022,” the lawmakers and staff wrote.
This week, a federal judge said he would block the Biden administration from ending Title 42 while the issue makes its way through the courts.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) told Breitbart News that he would expect 30,000 border crossers and illegal aliens every day at the border without Title 42. In Tijuana, Mexico, alone, Breitbart News exclusively reported that up to 6,000 foreign nationals are waiting to rush the border when Title 42 is ended.
Without Title 42, Biden officials admit that up to half a million border crossers and illegal aliens — the equivalent of the resident population of Atlanta, Georgia, — could arrive at the border every month.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter here.