The Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that the number of attempted crossings at the U.S. southern border is expected to reach its highest level in two decades.
The statement coincided with an effort by Biden administration officials to defend the White House’s immigration policies and discourage migrants from attempting to cross into the United States amid a surge of immigrant children at the border.
“We are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement Tuesday morning.
“We are expelling most single adults and families. We are not expelling unaccompanied children. We are securing our border, executing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) public health authority to safeguard the American public and the migrants themselves, and protecting the children. We have more work to do,” Mayorkas said.
Mayorkas stressed that the situation is difficult and will take time to resolve, but he said the administration’s ultimate goal is “a safe, legal, and orderly immigration system that is based on our bedrock priorities: to keep our borders secure, address the plight of children as the law requires, and enable families to be together.”