DHS Secretary to visit migrant processing center in El Paso

Migrant Centers

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday will visit the border city of El Paso, Texas, where he will receive briefings on a migrant processing center and the transfer of unaccompanied migrant children.

DHS confirmed Mayorkas’ visit in a news release issued Friday morning.

He will be accompanied by a bipartisan delegation of U.S. senators.

This visit will be closed to the media due to privacy and COVID-19 precautions, the release said.

This will be Mayorkas’ second visit to the border this month.

On March 6, Mayorkas led a contingency of White House officials to South Texas, where the group visited a tent facility in the town of Donna, Texas, about 20 miles east of McAllen, where undocumented migrants are processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. They then flew to Laredo and drove to a detention facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, where undocumented teen migrants are held the group.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, told Border Report that no local leaders were part of the White House tour.

The following day, the White House issued a statement acknowledging that Mayorkas had led a delegation of White House officials and leaders from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Southwest border “as part of the administration’s commitment to restoring order and humanity to our immigration system.”

This is also the second time that El Paso welcomes a congressional delegation from Washington D.C.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, led a 13-member delegation to El Paso on Monday to speak with U.S. Border Patrol agents dealing with a volume of unauthorized migrant apprehensions not seen since June 2019.

The house GOP leaders called on President Biden to stop rolling back Trump administration policies on immigration enforcement or face an even greater migrant crisis than his predecessor come this spring.

“It’s more than a crisis. This is a human heartbreak,” McCarthy said after touring the Border Patrol processing facility in Northeast El Paso. “We are watching what has happened in the past, those numbers broken. We watched a new facility that we never would meet capacity at 1,040, hit capacity today […] in April (when migration tends to peak), I can’t envision what it will look like.”

Mayorkas is coming off a heated debate with members of Congress who grilled him over the surge of migrants at the Southwest border.

He did acknowledge the administration may not have adequately notified communities chosen to host facilities for migrant teens and children and said some people were released without being tested for COVID-19, though a new testing policy has been implemented.

But Mayorkas refused to concede the situation was a crisis, saying the situation wasn’t much different from what the two previous administrations faced.

“We have a very serious challenge, and I don’t think the difficulty of that challenge can be overstated,” Mayorkas said. “We also have a plan to address it. We are executing on our plan and we will succeed.”

This is a developing story. Look for updates at borderreport.com

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The mission of BorderReport.com is to provide real-time delivery of the untold local stories about people living, working and migrating along the U.S. border with Mexico. The information is gathered by experienced and trusted Nexstar Media Group journalists hired specifically to cover the border.