WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Senators grilled Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about border security during a hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, confronted Mayorkas over migrants in “Biden cages,” referring to plastic enclosures he took pictures of in Donna, Texas.
“How many children have been in those cages?” Cruz asked.
Other Republicans hit President Joe Biden’s Homeland Security Secretary over the record numbers of migrants coming into the United States,
“I’m going to ask him whether he’s just incompetent or he believes in open borders,” said Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana. “It’s got to be one of the two.”
The latest number of border encounters from October dropped to about 164,000. It is the third month in a row Customs and Border Protection has seen a decline after a summer peak.
Still, the numbers are way up, a total of 128%, from the same time last year.
Former acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said solving the problem long-term will be difficult, but the first step is to stop the flow of migrants.
“You first have to stop the hundreds of thousands of folks coming across that border illegally and being released into the United States,” Wolf said on NewsNation’s “On Balance with Leland Vittert” on Tuesday. “You cannot talk about immigration reform without first securing that border.”
Although GOP lawmakers pressed Mayorkas, they say it is the leadership at the top that’s responsible.
“I don’t think you deserve to have to be here today to answer questions about immigration because I don’t think you’re calling the shots,” Kennedy said. “I think those shots are being called out of the White House. I think they ought to be here.”
Democrats agree the system is broken, but say Biden isn’t to blame.
“The fact is the Biden administration was handed a system that was decimated by the Trump administration,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii.
Democrats insist that Congress is responsible for fixing what all agree is a broken U.S. system, but concede that isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.
“It’s still unresolved what that will be but I hope it’s achieved,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois.
Some Democrats are pushing to include this in the president’s social spending bill, but there is debate over that issue right now and it’s likely to hit the chopping block
Mayorkas is also pushing Congress to pass immigration reform, saying it is necessary.