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House Homeland GOP Hits Biden Admin for ‘Celebrating’ June Border Data, As Fiscal Year Nears Record High

First on Fox: Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee are criticizing the Biden administration for “celebrating” June’s border numbers — amid a battle over the narrative of what changing migrant numbers mean for the ongoing crisis at the southern border.

Figures released this week by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) showed there were 144,571 immigration encounters in June, up from 207,834 in June last year and 189,034 in June 2021. In June 2020, there were only 33,049 at the border.

This number is higher than before 2021. (June’s numbers are still higher than any month of the 2019 border crisis.) However, they are the lowest at the border since February 2021 and fell sharply from 206,702 in May and 211,999 in April. The decline is particularly unusual in the summer months.

The number of immigrants dropped sharply in June as the Biden administration’s post-Title 42 strategy took shape.

Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn. speaks to reporters outside the U.S. Capitol after the House voted to send the impeachment resolution against President Joe Biden to committees on Thursday, June 22, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Administration officials have linked the drop in contests to measures introduced by the Biden administration since Title 42 expired in May. They include dramatically expanded legal pathways — including allowing up to 1,450 immigrants a day through ports of entry through the CBP One app — and a rule limiting asylum for those who enter illegally.

The agency noted that the number of people crossing illegally fell to 99,545, a 42 percent decrease from May. Acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller praised the “sustained efforts” to enforce the findings and increase access to the border, saying “the number of immigration encounters along the Southwest border has been reduced to their lowest level in more than two years.”

In an interview published Friday in Politico, DHS Secretary Alejandro Meyerkas pointed to both “legal recourse” and asylum rules as reasons for the numbers.

“So there it is: legal avenues, and the consequence of not using them is the government — and we’ve seen a dramatic decline.” They said.

House Homeland GOP report accuses Meyerkas of ‘deliberate’ dereliction of duty over border crisis

But Republicans have said the numbers are nothing to celebrate, and have criticized the administration’s new broad use of parole, arguing it goes beyond the “case-by-case” basis intended by Congress.

Chairman Mark Green said the administration is “trying to deceive the American public by celebrating June’s monthly encounter numbers — even as the Office of Field Operations reported a nearly 200 percent increase in encounters over June 2022.”

The Office of Field Operations is the CBP agency that encounters immigrants at the port of entry. Illegal entrants between ports are usually encountered by the Border Patrol. Both OFO and the Border Patrol account for the total number of encounters, but Republicans have accused DHS of simply waving illegal immigrants through ports of entry through the use of Parole and the CBP One app.

In June, more than 38,000 immigrants were scheduled for appointments on the app. It’s also separate from the 30,000 a month from Haiti, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua who are eligible to enter through a separate parole program announced in January.

“This drastic increase is further evidence of how Secretary Meyerkas is misusing the CBP One app to divert otherwise inadmissible alien entries to ports of entry and leave millions of them in the United States,” said Green, R-Tenn.

Meanwhile, the committee released a fact sheet saying that currently, the number of immigrants arriving at the border for fiscal year 2023 is about 1.8 million, which has already exceeded the then-historic number seen in fiscal year 2021 (1.7 million) and is on pace to exceed or surpass last year’s record-breaking 2.4 million.

“If this rate of encounters continues, fiscal year 2023 is on track to be the highest number of southwest border encounters on record,” the fact sheet says.

The fact sheet also reported a 579 percent increase in arrests of Chinese nationals this fiscal year and 140 individuals named to the FBI’s terror watch list.

Meyerkas will testify before the House Judiciary Committee amid GOP scrutiny over the border crisis

Mayorkas testifies

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Meyerkas testifies before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on April 27, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The clash comes as Republicans and Democrats continue to struggle to find common ground on the issue of immigration and illegal immigration — with Republicans pushing for border security, refugee reform and deportations, and Democrats pushing for broader legal pathways, refugee expansion and amnesty for those already in the United States.

Republicans have hammered the Biden administration, including Meyerkas, for its handling of the border crisis, arguing that its policies have exacerbated the crisis. They point to fewer enforcements, more arrests and releases, and an end to Trump-era policies like the construction of the border wall and the stay-in-Mexico policy. Some have even called for Meyerkas’ impeachment over his conduct.

This week, the committee released a report accusing Meyerkas of willful dereliction of duty in handling the crisis.

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“On top of these failures to uphold the law and fulfill his oath of office, Meyerkas has willfully undermined the sacred foundation of our constitutional republic, the separation of powers. He has abdicated his responsibility to enforce the laws passed by Congress, and he has refused to respect the decisions of the federal judiciary,” it found.

DHS quickly pushed back against the report.

“Secretary Meyerkas is proud to advance the department’s noble mission, support its exceptional workforce and serve the American people,” a DHS spokesman said Wednesday. “The Department will continue to build a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system, enforce our laws and secure our border, protect America from terrorism, and improve our cybersecurity.

“Instead of pointing fingers and pursuing baseless impeachment, Congress should work with the department and enact comprehensive legislation to fix our broken immigration system, which hasn’t been updated in decades,” the spokesman said.

Source by [Fox News]



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