This week, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told Congress that over 500,000 individuals crossed the southern border illegally in the 2023 fiscal year, even though he had said before that the border was safe during the Biden era.
At the yearly “Threats to the Homeland” meeting, Mayorkas, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray, as well as NCTC Director Christine Abizai all spoke in front of the United States Senate Homeland Security for Government Affairs Panel.
When Kansas Republican Senator Roger Marshall asked Mayorkas about the amount of “gotaways” (illegal immigrants seen entering the United States without getting caught) U.S. Border Patrol officers had seen in the past year, Mayorkas stated the number was over 600,000.
The mayor said, “I’m sure you know that the problem of ‘gotaways’ has been an issue for the Dept. of Homeland Security for several decades. In fact, it truly shows how badly the immigration system works.”
The southern border is still “secure,” Mayorkas has said at least 19 times, with different words each time, according to lawmakers on the Senate committee.
But those claims are always called into question because a report from the Republican Party on Homeland Security found that 7.5 million illegal immigrant encounters happened across the country, with 6.2 million happening at the southwestern border and another 1.7 million being “gotaways” who escaped the U.S. Border Patrol.
CBP statistics show that there were about 2.48 million contacts in FY 2023, which is the most in U.S. history. It’s 40% more than in FY 2021 and 4% more than in FY 2022.
At least 280 of these people have been put on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist throughout the past three years, according to figures from the conclusion of the fiscal year and monthly reports on migrants from the government agency.
According to Marshall, “Americans feel more unsafe today compared to what they did before the beginning of this administration. And your account of events has continually solidified the opinion that the American people have little confidence in you to perform your job. This is why I think the most important question in the next election will be: Are our loved ones safer now than they were just three years ago?”
During the meeting this week, Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin asked Mayorkas more questions about the number of illegal immigrants who were let go by federal agents.
“Where did all six million of them go? Have you kept track of them? How well do we know where those six million individuals are in the United States?” He asked Johnson.
“As you know, when someone is released, they are put into immigration enforcement procedures and can be sent back to their home country if they don’t have a legal reason to be here,” Mayorkas said.
Johnson stated, “You’re not responding to that question. In what place do these individuals live?”