Secretary Mayorkas has a message for migrants: “Don’t come”

Washington (CNN) — The Secretary of National Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, reiterated this Sunday his request to the migrants not to try to enter the United States through the southern border, and said that his message to them is clear: “Don’t come.”

“Because our southern border is not open,” Mayorkas told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” “What’s happening now is that individuals are removed by Title 42 authority or are placed under immigration law proceedings and removed if they don’t have a valid petition under our law to stay.”

“So just to be clear, if someone is watching this from another country and is considering coming, what’s your message?” Bash asked.

“Don’t come,” replied the secretary.

Mayorkas said that if the border between the United States and Mexico reaches a daily record of 18,000 migrants, a potential scenario raised by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), there could be a “tension in the system.”

DHS is bracing for multiple possible scenarios when the Trump-era pandemic entry restriction known as Title 42 is lifted. The provision, which invokes the principle of the coronavirus pandemic, allows border officials to turn away immigrants at the border due to the public health crisis.

The secretary maintained that the Biden government is actively preparing for when that provision is repealed. “What we do is prepare and plan, and we’ve been doing it for months,” he said Sunday. “It is our responsibility to be prepared for different scenarios and that is what we are doing.”

When asked about the Democratic legislators who argue that the department is not prepared for a wave of migrants at the border, Mayorkas said, “With all due respect, I disagree.”

Mayorkas stressed that preparations are underway, citing a 20-page memo released last week outlining plans in detail.

we know where they are

Mayorkas also confirmed Sunday that 42 individuals who are in the terrorist detection database were found on the US-Mexico border, telling Fox that the administration has “control over it.”

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, questioned Mayorkas last week about people found on the southern border who were on the terrorist watch list, and accused the secretary of not knowing where they were. Mayorkas provided more information during his interview with Fox, saying he didn’t want to “get it wrong” in response to Jordan’s question.

“We know where those 42 individuals are on the list, the terrorist detection database,” he said.

“Let me share with you what happens: they may be removed, they may be taken into custody for criminal prosecution, they may be cooperating in a police investigation, and I have no intention of providing that data publicly if it is sensitive to law enforcement. But we know where those 42 are, and I haven’t wanted to talk about the current fate of each and every one of them.”

Asked if Americans should be concerned, Mayorkas said, “We’ve got it under control,” referring to the entire US police and intelligence system, including the FBI.

— CNN’s Donald Judd and Devan Cole contributed to this report.

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