Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas is facing questions about why he is refusing to call the situation in Del Rio, Texas, where thousands of migrants are waiting to be processed by immigration officials a crisis.
During Tuesday’s appearance on CNN, Mayorkas was asked if the situation at the border is a crisis.
He said it was “heartbreaking” because “vulnerable individuals” were deceived by smuggling organizations and “misinformation” to make the trek to the border when “we have been quite clear that it will not be successful.”
“It is heartbreaking to these individuals, it is a human tragedy, and we are addressing it as best we can under the laws that we are employing now,” Mayorkas added.
However, host Brianna Keilar pushed back, “This is something that we haven’t seen before. This camp inside of the United States with thousands of people. What is the reticence to call something that is so clearly a crisis, a crisis?”
“I call it a heartbreaking situation. A tremendous challenge. We are addressing it with a plan. We are executing on that plan. I by no means diminish the humane issue that it presents,” Mayorkas said.
Finally, he added, “If I may, I am very focused on mission.”
Keilar retorted, “Mission in this issue though of semantics.”
Watch the video below:
His comments come as roughly 10,000 migrants are waiting at a temporary site in Del Rio, Texas, for immigration officials to process them. CNN notes that at times the number of migrants waiting there has risen to 14,000.
On Monday, Mayorkas was asked if he would call the situation a crisis. He said, “We are focused on meeting the challenge. We are focused on mission.”
In leaked audio obtained by Fox News last month, Mayorkas could be heard describing the situation at the border as “unsustainable.”
“We can’t continue like this, our people in the field can’t continue, and our system isn’t built for it,” he added.