POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Romney talks migrant surge at southern border

May 15, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: Jun 22, 2023, 4:57 pm

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Migrants waiting to apply for asylum between two border walls look through the wall Thursday, May 11, 2023, in San Diego. Pandemic-related U.S. asylum restrictions, known as Title 42, are to expire May 11. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

SALT LAKE CITY — Title 42, which was issued at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to turn away migrants at the southern border seeking to enter the United States illegally, ended late Thursday.

Utah’s Sen. Mitt Romney, who is a ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee’s Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight Subcommittee, joined Inside Sources host Boyd Matheson on Thursday afternoon to discuss the end of Title 42 and the state of security at the southern border

“We’re getting flooded with people into this country that shouldn’t be here. And unfortunately, the administration is not taking action to secure our border,” Romney told Boyd.

President Joe Biden’s administration last week began denying asylum to migrants who show up at the U.S.-Mexico border without first applying online or seeking protection in a country they passed through, according to ABC 7.

Busy day at the border

The Border Patrol stopped about 10,000 migrants on Tuesday, one of its busiest days ever, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

That’s nearly double the daily average in March of about 5,200, the latest publicly available data, and close to the 11,000 that U.S. officials have predicted to be the upper limit of a surge after Title 42 ends as reported by CBS News.

Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz told CBS News that approximately 60,000 migrants were massing in Mexico at the southern border. 

Across the border from Reynosa, Mexico, the Texas city of McAllen has seen fewer migrants than it was expecting on the first day after the expiration of Title 42, the mayor said Friday.

“It’s not the numbers we initially expected, and we hope it keeps that way,” said Mayor Javier Villalobos.

El Paso, Texas, has seen far fewer migrants coming into the city compared to last week after the end of Title 42, according to Mayor Oscar Leeser who noted that the city has one of its two shelters in operation, adding that it was being used to shelter 150 people and limited to families only.

What was been accomplished at the border?

“You had some interesting questions that you sent in a letter to Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas in terms of border security: what has been appropriated dollars and cents-wise from Congress, what hasn’t been used or what hasn’t been done? Give us a sense of that,” Boyd asked.

We had a hearing with Secretary Mayorkas. He’s in charge of Border Security [and] Homeland Security. And he said that he’s done 130 projects to build a wall and to close gaps in the wall,” Romney said. “My letter says, ‘Well, show me’ because I frankly think that’s a gross exaggeration. I don’t think there are any miles [that have] been added to the wall at all under this administration.

“In my letter, which is signed by a lot of my colleagues, is saying, ‘Please tell us how many miles you’ve added to the wall and which gaps you’ve actually closed, and of the money that’s been appropriated, what you’ve actually spent to secure our border.

” . . . the president has a responsibility to defend the country, to defend the homeland. And allowing tens of thousands of people basically 10,000 a day or more to flood into our country is simply not fulfilling his constitutional responsibility,” said Romney.

“Over the past two days, the United States Border Patrol has experienced a 50% drop in the number of encounters versus what we were experiencing earlier in the week before Title 42 ended at midnight on Thursday,” Mayorkas said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Mayorkas has authorized projects along the southern border to fill in gaps in the border wall and replace gates even as the administration continues to urge Congress to end all appropriations for the Trump-era project as reported by Fox News.

Showing up for court hearings?

Romney claims most asylum seekers coming to the US, who claim to be escaping oppression at home, are not.

“Now, overwhelmingly, when these cases get adjudicated, they’re found that there was no such oppression. They’re told to go back home, but most of these people that come in illegally — we don’t know where they are. We don’t know whether they’re going to come back for a hearing. Many, many will not,” Romney said. 

A study published last year in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review found that “88% of all immigrants in immigration court with completed or pending removal cases over the past 11 years attended all of their court hearings.

The analysis of government data also revealed that 95% of non-detained individuals who filed for asylum or other forms of relief from removal attended all of their court hearings over the same time period from 2008 to 2018, the authors said, as reported by FactCheck.org.

Are troops at the border for show?

Nearly 600,000 migrants who crossed the U.S. border since March 2021 have been released into the U.S. without being charged or given a date to appear in court, according to data obtained by NBC News Thousands have even been dropped from the program that was supposed to track them.

“We’re being overwhelmed at the border. The administration has sufficient funds to secure the border and has funds for completing the border wall. They’re really not doing anything,” said Romney.

Hundreds of active-duty U.S. troops are descending on the Mexican border last week, but they’re not authorized to make arrests, use their weapons or do much more than administrative work, according to Politico.

“I think [Biden’s] trying to make it look like he’s doing something. But these troops are not authorized to actually turn people around and send them back. They are there basically, if you will, they’re there for show,” Romney said.

Related:

End of Title 42 policy brings fewer migrants than expected

 

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

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Romney talks migrant surge at southern border