Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made the rounds Friday on all three broadcast network morning news shows as Title 42 ended Thursday night and, while those on ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS Mornings were taped and fairly pedestrian, NBC’s Today had co-host Savannah Guthrie bringing the heat over the crisis at the southern border.
Guthrie came loaded for bear from the get-go: “Let us not sugar coat us. Already, you have a record number of crossings, exceeding your own internal estimates. You have severely overcrowded detention facilities already. The President himself acknowledged this week it’s going to be chaotic for a while. That’s his word not my word.”
“My question to you is why? You have had two years to prepare for this. Why? Why do we have this chaos and confusion at the border,” she asked.
Mayorkas should run for office as his spin and actions haven’t matched up. He, of course, insisted “the answer is very, very clear,” which is that he’s only “operating within the constraints of a broken immigration system” and been denied “resources that we need” from Congress.
Guthrie interjected amid this drivel :
[G]iven...we do have a broken immigration system, why not delay Title 42 until you are ready to handle it? Even some Democratic congressmembers such as Vincente Gonzalez from Texas has suggested, let’s delay it for a little while and — and get more ready.
Mayorkas hilariously replied that “we have been preparing for this moment for more than a year and a half” with a plan that “[w]e’re executing on” as Title 42 ended because “the public health emergency has ended.”
Guthrie shifted to a new facet, blasting him for the fact that “these regional processing centers where migrants could go” haven’t even been constructed, so how could he say the Biden administration’s plan was working as they wanted “[t]he original lifting deadline for Title 42” to have been a year ago and “you have known for two years this is coming.”
Mayorkas spun more webs, stating in part that Biden “has led the greatest expansion of lawful pathways ever” and “communicated to the migrants, to individuals who are thinking of taking the journey that there is a right way to do it that is lawful, safe, and orderly, and there is a wrong way and the wrong way is in the hands of smugglers.”
Guthrie further turned up the heat, culminating in a scorcher on the fact that “people at home” have noticed the administration claim “the border is not open, but...a subset of people who are being released into this country with no court date and no way to track them. I mean, that sounds like the border is open for some” (click “expand”):
GUTHRIE: Let me ask you about this severe overcrowding we’re already seeing in detention facilities. They’re overflowing such that you have allowed a new policy this week that allows some highly vetted migrants to be released into this country, but with no court date and no way to track them. Now, late yesterday a federal judge struck that down. What now then? What do you do about this overcrowding?
MAYORKAS: So, we — we consider that ruling to be very harmful. The procedure that we were executing is something that other administrations have done. These individuals are screened and vetted, and then they are released and then placed into immigration enforcement proceedings. The Department of Justice is, of course, considering its options with respect to the court’s ruling.
MAYORKAS: We are ready for different eventualities, Savannah.
GUTHRIE: You know, with people — I should just say, people at home will hear that, wait — even if it’s just a subset, you know, relatively — a small number, you say the border is not open, but there is a subset of people who are being released into this country with no court date and no way to track them. I mean, that sounds like the border is open for some.
MAYORKAS: Oh, Savannah, the vast majority are being removed. I think if one asked any one of the 1.4 million people who are expelled, removed, or returned last year, I don’t think they would tell you that the border is open.
Guthrie did bring a question from the left, noting the hypocrisy in Biden “enact[ing] a new policy — it’s a tough one” from the Trump administration “it would require migrants to have first attempted asylum in another country before they come to the U.S.” She even pointed out Biden was so opposed he blasted Trump for it during the final presidential debate.
Her final question was brutal: “Does the President bear some responsibility for the surge we’re seeing right now? I want to play you a piece of something he said during the campaign again back in 2019.”
In the clip, Biden boasted: “All those people are seeking asylum, We’re a nation that says if you want to flee and you’re facing oppression, you should come.”
Guthrie lowered the boom: “Mr. Secretary, they came. They’re sitting outside our border right now. It is cold at night. It is sizzling hot during the day. It is dust. There are children. They came. Did that messaging encourage people to make this crossing?”
Since he wouldn’t blame himself or his boss, Mayorkas had to blame someone and that someone[s] were the cartels and....Congress (i.e. Republicans).
On ABC, co-host and former Clinton official George Stephanopoulos was brief and the questions weren’t necessarily softballs, but instead unimaginative (click “expand”):
Hours since title 42 expired. What are you seeing at the border right now?
You — tougher consequences but right now, you have is a lot of migrants at the border, limited food, limited water. Could this have been avoided?
What is your reaction from this ruling last night blocking you from releasing more migrants into the U.S. without an order to show up in court?
You see Texas Governor Greg Abbott is starting to send buses of migrants all across the country right now. He says he’s doing it because the administration is not doing its job.
And, at this point, how long is the situation going to go on and is it going to get worse before it gets better?
CBS Mornings wasn’t much better with co-host and Democratic donor Gayle King appearing alongside co-host Tony Dokoupil. King’s last question was a softball (click “expand”):
KING: Well, we just heard Speaker McCarthy say the White House had no plan, that you all have bumbled it, and now you’ve created another crisis. It’s no surprise to you that they don’t think you’re doing a good job on this. But let’s talk about the numbers. It does seem to be overwhelming. 60,000 migrants right now are waiting along the border hoping to enter this country right now. What’s being done to address that? And how do you respond to Speaker McCarthy?
KING: How can we tell that it’s working, Mr. Secretary, because all we see is a lot of people at the border trying to get in?
DOKOUPIL: Mr. Secretary, I take it face value that you’re doing all you believe you can do right at this moment, and with that up front, I wonder would you describe the border right now as safe and secure?
KING: Mr. Secretary, I heard you say that you have a plan in place. Can you just briefly describe what the plan is — very briefly — and why you’re so confident it’s going to work.
The pedestrian questioning of Mayorkas on this border crisis and unfettered illegal immigration was made possible thanks to advertisers such as Dove (on CBS), and Jergens (on ABC). Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.