No 'Crisis,' but DHS Chief Mayorkas Blames Trump Administration for Biden's Border 'Challenge'

There is no "crisis" on the United States' southern border as thousands of migrants seek to enter the country, according to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, but he's urging people to wait before traveling to the U.S. while the Biden administration tries to iron out its immigration plan.

"We are working around the clock to replace the cruelty of the last administration with an orderly, humane and safe immigration process. It is hard and it will take time," Mayorkas told reporters Monday.

"The men and women of the Department of Homeland Security are working around the clock, seven days a week, to ensure that we do not have a crisis at the border, that we manage the challenge as acute as the challenge is," he said.

The number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border has spiked significantly in recent weeks and is projected to grow by the thousands in the coming months, Mayorkas acknowledged. But he urged those seeking to come to the United States to be patient.

"We are not saying don't come," he said. "We are saying don't come now, because we will be able to deliver a safe and orderly process for them as quickly as possible."

Mayorkas blamed the Trump administration's immigration policies for the growing influx of migrants that has overwhelmed the system.

"The prior administration dismantled our immigration system in its entirety," Mayorkas said. "Quite frankly, the entire system was gutted."

Mayorkas' remarks came just hours before President Joe Biden was scheduled to hold a virtual meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Trump has recently taken aim at Biden's immigration policies, which include several executive orders, such as the one that canceled construction of Trump's much touted wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"When I left office just six weeks ago, we had created the most secure border in U.S. history," Trump said during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday. "It took the new administration only a few weeks to turn this unprecedented accomplishment into self-inflicted humanitarian and national security disaster."

The federal government takes migrant children who cross the border without an adult into mandatory quarantine facilities for 10 days before they can be sent to shelters or placed with host families. The Biden administration has faced a backlash for reinstating what some see as policies reminiscent of the Trump administration.

"Our overarching goal is to be as humane as the law provides, to be as restorative as law enables us to be, to bring justice to these families," Mayorkas said.

Alejandro Mayorkas
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during a daily press briefing at the White House on March 1. Mayorkas discussed the Biden administration's plans for overhauling immigration policy. Drew Angerer/Getty