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The FBI director told lawmakers on Thursday that the crisis on the southern border poses “significant security concerns” — while not directly addressing the Biden administration’s claims that the border is “secure.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray was asked during a Senate hearing by Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, whether he agreed with Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, who recently said the border is “secure.”
“When Director Mayorkas was asked about the border, he made, quite frankly, from my point of view, the implausible statement that the border was secure. Do you think the border is safe from your point of view?’ Cornyn asked.
Wray told Cornyn that “I’m hesitant to substitute my judgment for the Secretary of Homeland Security, but I’ll tell you that I’ve spent a lot of time with our field offices responsible for border issues.”
BORDER PATROL DRIVES BACK ON MAYORKAS CLAIM THAT SOUTHERN BORDER IS SAFE: ‘THEY ARE LIARS’
“I’ve been in ports of entry, also not too long ago, with… [Customs and Border Protection] officers walked me through it so I could really see first hand what they are dealing with, and all I can say is, boy, they have a great challenge and I admire their courage and determination to get the job done, But it’s a daunting one.”
Cornyn insisted on Wray, telling him he hadn’t answered the question.
“Well, look, I think the border poses significant security concerns,” Wray replied. “There is a wide range of criminal threats that we encounter at the border.”
Wray exposed transnational criminal organizations that transport drugs to the US, and he said this ends up in jail and street gangs distributing them. He endured the FBI’s efforts to target those organizations, including task forces in the Northern Triangle, calling it a “big, big challenge.”
Cornyn said he was told by Border Patrol agents that there was a threat to public security at that border, including migrants from more than 150 countries, and asked Wray if he agreed with that assessment.
Wray said there was an “eclectic mix of nationalities and the volume is just stunning.”
MAYORKAS MOVES SOUTHERN BORDER IS ‘SAFE’ AS HISTORICAL MIGRANT CRISIS RAGE
“To me, it represents an important security issue and represents a wide range of criminal threats that arise from it,” he said.
The US has been rocked by a massive migrant crisis since shortly after the Biden administration took office last year. There have been more than 1.7 million migrant encounters to date in both FY 2021 and FY 22, and more than 200,000 encounters per month since March.
Meanwhile, there have been more than 500,000 escapes since the start of the fiscal year, which began in October.
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However, Mayorkas said last month that the border is “secure” and “we are working to make the border more secure… that was a historic challenge.”
“There is work to be done,” he said before clarifying that “safe and certainly are two different words.”
“There are smugglers operating on the Mexican side of the border and it is not safe to put their lives in their hands,” he said.