Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is set to appear before Congress this week in a series of hearings with various House committees, as the ongoing crisis along the southern border continues to grow.
Mayorkas is scheduled to appear before the House Appropriations subcommittee on DHS at 10 am Wednesday as well as the House Homeland Security Committee at 2 pm. On Thursday, he will also face the House Judiciary Committee.
While the first two hearings were routinely scheduled to go over the FY 2023 budget request for the Department, Mayorkas is expected to face strong pushback from Republicans members of the committees on the administration’s immigration policies.
Mayorkas’ testimony comes just weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it would be ending the Trump-era Title 42 policy on May 23. The health order has allowed border officials for two years to quickly expel migrants without hearing asylum claims.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers have criticized the decision to lift the order, citing a massive influx of border crossings that is expected to follow.
On Monday, a Louisiana federal court issued a temporary restraining order blocking the move. With the order, no action can be taken until a hearing – scheduled for May 13 – is held.
Many critics have slammed the administration for not having a detailed strategy on how they plan to deal with the expected influx once Title 42 is lifted, as migration levels are already at record highs with the order still in place.
However on Tuesday, Mayorkas released a “DHS Plan for Southwest Border Security and Preparedness” to address some of these concerns.
The secretary is expected to outline it in front of Congress, highlighting the six pillars of the plan.
The pillars include surging resources – such as personnel, transportation, medical support and facilities – enhancing US Customs and Border Protection processing efficiency, commitment to unlawful entry consequences, boosting capacity of non-governmental organizations to hold migrants awaiting immigration proceedings results, targeting and disrupting criminal organizations and smuggles, as well as detering irregular migration south of the US border.
In order to meet these goals, CBP has deployed 600 officers to the southern border and is expanding its custody capacity to 18,000 up from 13,000.