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Mayorkas faces lawmakers amid unaccompanied-migrant crisis at the border

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His appearance before the House National Security Committee comes as the Biden administration struggles to accommodate the growing number of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border alone in the context of a resource-poor pandemic, particularly shelter space.

“We are about to meet more people on the southwest border than those in the last 20 years,” Mayorkas said in a statement Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, more than 300 unaccompanied migrant children he had been in the custody of the border patrol for more than ten days, CNN has noted. More than 4,200 minors were detained, with an average time of 120 hours.
Mayorkas, who has testified on Capitol Hill for the first time since your confirmation, said the situation at the border was “difficult” and acknowledged that the children are not being transferred to custody by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services within the three-day legal limit.

“The border patrol facilities have been filled with children and the 72-hour deadline for the transfer of border patrol children to HHS is not always met,” Mayorkas said.

HHS has not had the capacity to accommodate the number of unaccompanied children at the border, he added. Federal law requires unaccompanied children to be handed over to HHS within 72 hours, which oversees a network of shelters designed to house minors.

In February, more than 9,400 unaccompanied children of various ages crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the the latest data available of Customs and Border Protection. This has happened since January and is expected to continue to rise.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden discouraged potential migrants of coming to the United States and telling ABC, “I can say very clearly, ‘Don’t come.’

The president continued: “We are in the process of setting up. Don’t leave your town, city or community.”

Mississippi Democrat House Speaker Bennie Thompson said Wednesday’s hearing focused on the Department of Homeland Security’s “future” after “four years of mismanagement and misuse of the House.” Department by the Trump Administration. “

Last month, Thompson invited Mayorkas to testify about the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, the recent violation of SolarWinds, immigration, and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The committee also asked Mayorkas to provide information on how to ensure DHS front-line employees have access to vaccines.
The SolarWinds gap, along with the Microsoft Exchange Hack, are likely to appear during the hearing as the department’s cyber agency faces the best way to improve its security efforts with the resources it has.

Representative John Katko, a New Yorker who is the committee’s top Republican, plans to discuss the “humanitarian crisis he saw on the border this week,” as well as the Cyber ​​Security and Infrastructure Agency’s appeal and growing cyber threats. representing China, a committee spokesman said.

Congress included $ 650 million on Covid’s $ 1.9 trillion relief bill approved last week by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency’s cybersecurity risk management programs, which will provide funding before the next budget cycle. CISA has recently launched pilot programs to improve visibility in federal civilian networks.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has not yet appointed a director for the agency, headed by a senior career official, Brandon Wales, as an actor.

In a letter to Biden last week, Katko said she was “very concerned” about the delay in appointing a director of the Cyber ​​Security and Infrastructure Agency.

“CISA is at the forefront of not just one, but potentially two significant cyber incidents facing federal networks and the private sector. Now, more than ever, we need permanent political leadership at the helm of the federal cybersecurity agency. civil of our nation, ”he noted. he wrote.

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