Email exposes ‘overwhelming’ migrant surge, DHS chief lobbies for help after downplaying border crisis

An email from Department of Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas sent to DHS staffers on Monday asking for volunteers to assist in dealing with an “overwhelming” number of migrants crossing illegally into the U.S. runs counter to his public claims last week that there is no “crisis” along the southwest border.

“Today, I activated the Volunteer Force to support Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as they face a surge in migration along the Southwest Border,” Mayorkas told staffers in the email, according to Fox News.

“You have likely seen the news about the overwhelming numbers of migrants seeking access to this country along the Southwest Border,” he continued. “President Biden and I are committed to ensuring our Nation has a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system while continuing to balance all of the other critical DHS missions.”

Last week, Mayorkas pushed back on the characterization by some in the media that the dramatic influx of illegal migrant crossings at the border had reached “crisis” levels. Rather, Mayorkas told reporters that the situation was merely a “challenge.”

“The men and women of the Department of Homeland Security are working around the clock seven days a week to ensure that we do not have a crisis at the border—that we manage the challenge, as acute as the challenge is,” he said. 

“All understand it is imperative. Everyone understands what occurred before us and what we need to do now. And we are getting it done,” Mayorkas added.

In his email to DHS staff, Mayorkas said volunteers would not take on a law enforcement role but instead would fill logistical needs including running out for supplies, meal prep, obtaining prescription medications, assisting in control rooms, taking care of the properties, and some housekeeping duties.

He added that the volunteer force was used during a previous border escalation during the spring and summer of 2019.

“In 2019, over 900 volunteers deployed to support their CBP colleagues during a similar migration surge,” Mayorkas noted. “Please consider joining the Volunteer Force to again provide needed humanitarian support along the Southwest Border and relief for our CBP colleagues.”

After days of downplaying the significantly increasing number of migrant border crossers, Mayorkas’ activation of a volunteer force appears to be the latest sign that the Biden administration has either dramatically underestimated the issue or has been hiding what’s really taking place along the border. 

Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar believes it’s the latter.

“I think in February we’re gonna get about 100,000 [migrants]. And again, I don’t care what we call it, but I can tell you this, those numbers of people that are being released, they’re purposely withholding that information. They’ve been told not to withhold that information,” he told Fox News on Sunday.

“I now know that they’re bringing people from McAllen over to Laredo, processing them in Laredo, and they’re gonna release them in my community. I represent both areas, the valley and of course, part of the valley in Laredo, and I’ve seen this before,” he added.

He went on to speculate that President Biden’s administration is paying more heed to open borders advocates than border officials who are trying to deal with the influx.

“The problem is they’re listening to immigration activists, which is okay. But they got to listen to the local communities. And they got to listen to those men and women in green,” he said.

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Jon Dougherty

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