Transcript: CBS News interviews Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas

ByDavid L. Juliano

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The next is a transcript of an April 22 job interview with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who told CBS News his department is completely ready to employ a key plan transform together the U.S.-Mexico border in May perhaps. The transcript was slightly edited for clarity.

CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ, CBS News: I’ll leap suitable in. Secretary, you had been just lately in Panama to go over migration and the administration’s regional technique to this issue. What accurately, secretary, are you asking Panama and other nations in our hemisphere to do otherwise to help the U.S. handle these, frankly, unprecedented levels of displacement and migration?

SECRETARY MAYORKAS: I imagine it’s quite crucial to figure out that the obstacle of migration, an greater stage of migration, is not one of a kind to the United States. It is a thing that international locations all through our area are experiencing. And I assume that is extremely powerfully demonstrated, for example, in the variety of Venezuelans resident now in Colombia the variety of Nicaraguans resident now in Costa Rica. And for that reason, addressing a regional challenge involves a regional response. And what we are asking, and it really is not just the United States asking other nations around the world, but all nations around the world asking of one a different. And that is one of the things that was rather apparent. This is not a United States inquire of other international locations. This is international locations inquiring of each other. A collaborative, harmonized technique to increasing migration throughout the region.

And we talked over the diverse elements of that reaction. We spoke of the responsibility to control borders during the area in a humanitarian way that follows the legislation, which indicates that these who qualify for relief in a unique nation are granted that relief and people who do not are repatriated. For those who are granted reduction, to acquire stabilization endeavours so that they have the potential to do the job and combine in the communities. The repatriation attempts should be accomplished in a way that lets individuals a safe return to the nations from which they originated. We spoke of the progress of safe and legal pathways so that people today, for case in point, in search of relief do not have to have to pass as a result of the very treacherous Darién region, which I saw firsthand in my go to to Panama. And we spoke of a collaboration on repatriation endeavours. And then, of study course, essentially, and this is why the wide participation was so instrumental, we have the improvement banking companies, the international enhancement banks, existing there. That we have to also get on an enduring answer. And that is addressing the motive, the fundamental factors, why persons leave their residences, their nations around the world of origin, only to journey to other nations around the world with which they are unfamiliar. And so we included quite an expanse of subjects that are associated in the complexities of regional migration.

CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ: You just described that in your perspective, migrants who you should not qualify for relief below U.S. legislation should really be returned in a humane vogue. Which is not often the scenario, as you know, such as since of the incapacity to return individuals to some international locations like Cuba and Nicaragua. So does this regional approach also require, Secretary, inquiring and convincing these countries to settle for the return of their citizens if they don’t qualify for asylum right here in the U.S.

SECRETARY MAYORKAS: That does. I consider that is, Camilo, tough. For illustration, it is pretty hard in working with a region like Venezuela, in which the diplomatic relations, if they exist at all, can be strained. And so we have to be realistic in this article in addressing the realities.

CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ: But you are striving to build some type of dialogue with these nations around the world like Cuba and Nicaragua and Venezuela to see if they can just take some of their nationals back who yet again never qualify for (relief below) our guidelines. And I talk to this due to the fact as you know, Secretary, Cuba past month became the next premier resource of migration to the border.

SECRETARY MAYORKAS: Yeah, so Camilo, this is why the regional migration talks were being so important in Panama, for the reason that it is not some thing that we can do by yourself. And if we will not have the relationship with another region that will allow that constructive dialogue then possibly other international locations can participate in the alternative. And so which is why a regional strategy is so very important, and as I know you are perfectly informed, yesterday we had conversations with Cuba to start off a dialogue on the migration accords, a system that has certainly traditionally provided an orderly and protected pathway for a specified variety of Cubans to obtain aid in the United States.

CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ: And also their commitment to settle for the return of their citizens as properly, suitable? That was yet another component. 

SECRETARY MAYORKAS: An factor of the discussion.

CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ: I would be remiss, Secretary if I did not talk to you about the prepared termination of Title 42. I realize it is a CDC final decision. But there is certainly a expanding variety of lawmakers and frankly, every day Americans, who do not truly feel that your division, Secretary, is all set to apply this alter. Can you assure them that they will not see hazardous overcrowding in border amenities, that asylum-seekers will be processed effectively and that you will be able to manage these already incredibly significant degrees of migration at the time this plan is terminated on Could 23?

SECRETARY MAYORKAS: Camilo, the assertion that we do not have plans is an assertion that is not grounded in truth. We have been setting up for months to deal with increases in migration individuals that we now have expert and those people that we may working experience upon an end to Title 42. And proof of that is the simple fact that we’ve deployed further assets to the border in anticipation of an stop to Title 42. The surging of personnel, transportation, health care methods, the development of extra facilities to assistance border operations. These options have been in the will work for months. And so, we do in truth have strategies and I can guarantee the American people today and their representatives that we do in fact.

CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ: And you truly feel self-confident, Secretary, that you will be in a position to put into practice this adjust come May well 23.

SECRETARY MAYORKAS: We are self-assured that we can put into practice our ideas when they are necessary. And we are also really conscious of the reality, Camilo, that we are planning for unique situations. And specific of people situations current substantial problems for us. There is a essential place, Camilo, that is so significant to communicate just about every solitary time that we speak of these troubles, and that is that we are working within just the confines of a program that is fully damaged, and that is extended overdue for legislative repair.

CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ: In that vein, Secretary, will you be turning to Congress to inquire for both legal authorities to be changed or for additional funding to assistance you address these troubles?

SECRETARY MAYORKAS: We are at the moment doing the job within the funding that we have been provided, Camilo, but indeed, I will continue on to talk to that legislative reform be carried out. There is unanimity of check out that it is essential. And President Biden proposed on its to start with working day in office a legislative package to repair what anyone agrees is a process damaged in its entirety.

CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ: Secretary, if you might be anyone correct now in Haiti, Colombia, Nicaragua, other international locations in our hemisphere, and you are contemplating about migrating to the U.S. border after May well 23, right after Title 42 is lifted, because there is a belief that they will be equipped to stay in this article. Is that perception precise, inaccurate?

SECRETARY MAYORKAS: That perception is inaccurate. And Camilo, we have seen people undertake the perilous journey, we have noticed them take that journey by sea, and we have observed the lethal or dire outcomes of that. I frequented the Darién, an extraordinarily treacherous terrain, and figured out firsthand the dire penalties of that undertaking. We are dedicated to creating protected, orderly and humane pathways. Those people people today who do not qualify for relief in the United States will be returned. 

CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ: Okay. Last query, if I might. In March, Secretary, your office recorded 221,000 apprehensions together the southwest border, a 22-yr large. Clearly that amount is inflated by a pretty significant level of recidivism amid, specially single older people. What kind of figures are you seeing now in April, Secretary? And yet again, I want to question you the problem, if you think that you will be able to regulate some of the projections that the company has laid out when Title 42 is lifted?

SECRETARY MAYORKAS: Camilo, I consider you determine a extremely essential issue that needs to be underscored, which is these are the variety of encounters, they are not the amount of exceptional folks encountered at the border. And we are heading to carry on to adhere to the legal guidelines that tutorial us. And that contains the laws of humanitarian relief and the laws of elimination that compel removing when one particular does not qualify.

CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ: How do you lessen that? Sorry to interrupt you, Secretary, how do you reduce that recidivism level that is incredibly substantial ideal now. And that is inflating these numbers substantially?

SECRETARY MAYORKAS: That is in the context of, Camilo, you’re inquiring in the context of Title 42?

CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ: Why a lot of grownups are hoping to cross many occasions.

SECRETARY MAYORKAS: So we are addressing that within just our enforcement routine, Camilo. And those people men and women who make recurring tries, who look for to defy the regulation, are subject to felony prosecution in proper circumstances. And we’re operating in collaboration with the Division of Justice to do that.


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