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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas traveled to Eagle Pass, Texas Thursday afternoon to meet with Border Patrol agents and survey operations amid a daily influx of migrants that has overwhelmed local officials and fueled criticism of the Biden administration’s border policies.
Secretary Mayorkas met with Border Patrol agents at Shelby Park – a site from which the agency often launches boats.
Mayorkas did not take questions from media outlets or elaborate on the visit. Fox News has reached out to DHS seeking more information on Mayorkas’ meeting.
The secretary’s visit came after a sit down with the San Antonio Express-News in which he criticized Gov. Greg Abbott for ramping up Texas Department of Public Safety Officers at the border for inspections.
“[W]hen we work with DPS, in coordination with DPS, they are of tremendous assistance to us,” Mayorkas told the Express-News’ editorial board. “When state officials work unilaterally and do not coordinate and collaborate with us, it can actually wreak havoc.”
Mayorkas conceded that human smuggling operations had gotten more sophisticated in recent decades, and addressing the issued, he said, would require international collaboration.
“We’re working very closely with our partners to the south and Mexico. On this, we have brought, I think, over 4,000 prosecutions between our two countries. I think the attack on the smuggling organizations is what we need to continue, and to continue to escalate.”
The difference in approach was on display earlier this month, when Border Patrol agents opened a gate that had previously been locked by Texas National Guard members to allow multiple illegal immigrants to go deeper in o the U.S.
Texas has gone head-to-head with Biden administration in recent months over the former’s handling of the border. Earlier this year, Gov. Abbott – as well as Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey – began sending migrants on state-sponsored bus trips to Washington, D.C. and New York City to exploit what they regard as failed Democratic leadership on the border issue.
Nearly 8,000 migrants have arrived on the state-sponsored bus trips, straining the resources and humanitarian services of both cities, which have also sought assistance from the federal government.
A voluntary consent form in multiple languages for free transportation from Texas tells migrants that Washington is where the president and members of Congress “are more immediately able to help address the needs of migrants.”
Migrants who sign a consent form for a free trip to New York are told that the city has designated itself a “sanctuary” for migrants, who are provided with food and shelter.
Abbott has called New York City “the ideal destination for these migrants, who can receive the abundance of city services and housing that Mayor Eric Adams has boasted about within the sanctuary city.” Adams and other officials, meanwhile, have chastised Abbott for “politicizing the situation.”
U.S. authorities stopped migrants 1.43 million times at the Mexican border from January through July, up 28% from the same period last year. Many are released on humanitarian parole or with notices to appear in immigration court.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.