Mayorkas forced to admit more migrants have crossed US border under Biden than Trump: ‘Several million people’

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday admitted that the number of migrants who have crossed the southern border under his watch outpaces that under the Trump administration — but blamed a number of hemispheric factors and a "broken" system for the border crisis.

Mayorkas was asked at an event at The Economic Club in Washington, D.C., about the border crisis, and the historic numbers of migrants the U.S. has been seeing in recent years. There were more than 2.4 million migrant encounters in FY 23, and that mark could be broken in FY 24, although monthly numbers have decreased.

"The number of encounters at the southern border is very high, but it's very, very important, number one, to contextualize it and, number two, to explain it," he said. From a context perspective, the world is seeing the greatest level of displacement since at least World War II."

BIDEN ADMIN REFUSES TO REVEAL TERROR WATCHLIST NATIONALITIES AS ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION EXPLODES ON HIS WATCH

"So the challenge of migration is not exclusive to the southern border, nor to the Western Hemisphere," he said. "It is global."

Mayorkas cited violence, insecurity, poverty, corruption, authoritarian regimes and "extreme weather events" among the reasons for migration across the globe. However, he also said there were additional explanations for why the U.S. was a top destination.

"In our hemisphere, we overcame COVID more rapidly than any other country. We had, in a post-COVID world, 11 million jobs to fill, we are a country of choice as a destination, and one takes those two forces and then one considers the fact that we have an immigration system that is broken fundamentally and we have a level of encounters that we do," he asserted.

As evidence that the system is broken, Mayorkas said that the average time between an encounter and the adjuciation of an asylum claim is seven years. He was later asked by David Rubenstein, president of the Economic Club, how many people have come across the border since President Biden took office.

"It's several million people," Mayorkas said.

Rubenstein asked if it was true that more people have come in under President Biden than former President Trump.

Mayorkas said it was, but said that was in part due to a suppression of migration during the COVID pandemic that followed a significant increase in migration under the last pre-COVID Trump year.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS FROM FOREIGN ADVERSARY HIT NEW HIGH AMID NATIONAL SECURITY FEARS 

"That is true," he said. "Now in 2019, there was almost a 100% increase in the number of encounters at the southern border over 2018. The situation in the hemisphere was propelling people to leave their country. 2020 was a period of tremendously suppressed migration throughout the hemisphere and around the world because of the COVID-19 people coming over the border illegally."

The Biden administration has defended its record on immigration, saying it has combined additional consequences for illegal entry with broader pathways for lawful migration. It has coupled that with calls for reform and additional funding from Congress, including most recently a bipartisan Senate bill that has failed to pick up support. It has also pointed to 720,000 removals or returns of illegal immigrants since May 2023, more than in every full fiscal year since 2011.  

CLICK HERE FOR MORE COVERAGE OF THE BORDER SECURITY CRISIS

Mayorkas also noted a recent drop in numbers that showed 179,725 encounters in April, compared to 211,992 in April 2023 and 189,357 in March. 

Republicans, however, have blamed the Biden administration for the border crisis, saying it is the rolling back of Trump-era policies that have caused the surge in migration. Republicans in the House have passed their own border security bill, which would restart border wall construction and limit asylum claims, among other inclusions. They also impeached Mayorkas earlier this year, but those articles of impeachment have not been taken up in the Senate for a trial.

Fox News' Jasmine Baehr contributed to this report.

House Dems seeking re-election seemingly reverse course, call on Biden to ‘bring order to the southern border’

Five vulnerable Democrats who voted against measures to strengthen border security in the past have seemingly changed their tune as they seek re-election to their posts in the lower chamber.

Following President Biden's signing of a $95 billion package with aid to both Ukraine and Israel last week, five Democrats – Reps. Jared Golden of Maine, Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington, Mary Peltola of Alaska, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas and Don Davis of North Carolina – released a joint statement agreeing with calls for Congress and the president to "act and bring order to the southern border."

"Beyond defending our allies, we strongly agree with the National Border Patrol Council that Congress and the President must act and bring order to the Southern border," the lawmakers stated. "That is why we also voted for H.R. 3602 on Saturday, and why we all voted last month for $19.6 billion for Border Patrol so that it could ramp up its efforts to secure the border."

The comments from the five Democrats – three of whom (Golden, GluesenKamp, and Davis) are engaged in tough re-election battles that have been labeled "toss up" races by the Cook Political Report, and another two (Peltola and Gonzalez) competing in races labeled "lean Democrat" – came after each one of them voted against the Secure the Border Act of 2023.

VULNERABLE HOUSE DEMS DO A U-TURN ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AFTER CALLING CRISIS 'NON-EXISTENT THREAT'

That bill, which passed in the House, would have expanded the type of crimes that make someone ineligible for asylum, limited the eligibility to those who arrive at ports of entry, mandated a system similar to the E-Verify employment eligibility verification system, and created additional penalties for visa overstay.

In addition to not supporting the Secure the Border Act, the same five Democrats voted on two different occasions against GOP-led efforts to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, whom many Republicans have argued is largely responsible for the migrant crisis at the southern border.

Certain Democrats, like Gluesenkamp Perez, who was first elected to Congress in 2022 and co-chairs the Blue Dog Coalition with Golden and Peltola, have made dismissive comments about the border crisis in recent years.

The Washington lawmaker previously faced criticism from Republicans over border-related comments she made in March 2023 during an appearance on Pod Save America, which came prior to the ending of the Title 42 public health order.

"Listen, nobody stays awake at night worrying about the southern border," she said at the time. "That's just not… people stay awake at night worrying that their kid is gonna relapse or that, you know, someone's going to drop out of school or they're going to lose their house."

Gluesenkamp Perez was also one of many Democrats who defended Mayorkas amid calls for his impeachment earlier this year, saying it was "frustrating to see" Republicans push for his ouster because "he doesn't set policy, he implements it."

Despite her past remarks, Gluesenkamp Perez has been critical of Biden's handling of the border crisis in recent months, saying in April that she voted in support of H.R. 3602, which provides for criminal penalties for certain conduct that interferes with U.S. border control measures, because "President Biden has failed to end the crisis at our Southern Border."

"Every country has an obligation to protect its citizens and secure its sovereign borders, and H.R. 3602 focuses on the urgent need to restore operational control of the Southern Border. Unlike the unworkable and un-American immigration proposals pushed by far-right extremists, this bipartisan bill doesn’t create burdensome government mandates that would harm small businesses, agricultural employers, rural communities, and our economy," she said at the time.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, a member of the congresswoman's press team insisted that she has "called on the [Biden] Administration her entire time in office to fix the crisis at our Southern Border, and for Congress to do its job to pass meaningful border security legislation."

BIDEN ADMIN CONDEMNED FOR CONSIDERING PLANS TO ACCEPT PALESTINIAN REFUGEES: ‘A NATION COMMITTING SUICIDE’

The spokesperson also touted the Washington lawmaker's introduction of the "Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act to restore operational control at the Southern Border by restoring expulsion authority for Border Patrol and requiring the President to reinstate Remain in Mexico," as well as her support for the End Fentanyl Act.

"Marie continues to urge Congress to get back to work to address the real crisis at our border and end the petty gamesmanship," the spokesperson said.

Gonzalez is another Democrat who made dismissive remarks prior to the expiration of Title 42, which provided the ability for American officials to bar migrants from entering the country during a health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a July 2023 stop in Edinburgh, Texas, Gonzalez reportedly shot down questions and concern over whether Biden was doing enough to secure the southern border amid an overwhelming influx of illegal immigrants.

"We have seen major improvements along the border.… If you go to the border now, in our region, it’s pretty unremarkable what you see," Gonzalez said, according to the Rio Grande Guardian. "When they lifted Title 42 and implemented Title 7, which I advocated against… I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong. What the president did, what Secretary Mayorkas has done, has positively impacted our border and that’s a fact."

"People could point fingers and say things, but the reality is, undocumented crossings are down by 70%," he added at the time.

A little more than a week after Gonzalez gave those remarks, the Texas Tribune reported that Border Patrol agents "made more than 130,000 arrests along the Mexico border [in July 2023], preliminary figures show, up from 99,545 in June."

Gonzalez is one of 154 Democrats who voted this January against the Agent Raul Gonzalez Officer Safety Act, which would have created hefty federal penalties for illegal migrants who evade U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers during motor vehicle pursuits. The measure was named after a Border Patrol officer who died in a vehicle crash in Texas last year during a pursuit.

Along with Golden and Gluesenkamp Perez, Gonzalez was one of 201 Democrats who voted in July 2023 against the Schools Not Shelters Act, which would have prohibited "the use of the facilities of a public elementary school, a public secondary school, or an institution of higher education to provide shelter for aliens who have not been admitted into the United States, and for other purposes."

Peltola joined 218 Republicans in voting in favor of that measure at the time, while Davis did not vote.

"I remain dedicated to addressing the border crisis. However, we must not inflict harm on American agriculture in the process," Davis said in a statement to Fox. "Initially, I had concerns about the e-verify provision in HR-2, but it was removed, allowing me to fully lend my support, along with just four other Democrats, to H.R. 3602, the Bipartisan End the Border Catastrophe Act."

Asked whether he believes Biden is responsible for the border crisis, Davis said his "votes speak for themselves."

CBP records show the first six months of fiscal year 2024 had 1,340,801 total encounters, exceeding the first six months of fiscal year 2023, which set a record of 1,226,254 total encounters.

Vulnerable House Dems do a U-turn on illegal immigration after calling crisis ‘non-existent threat’

A handful of vulnerable House Democrats, all of whom dismissed concern about the southern border crisis and voted against measures to enhance border security in the past, have attempted to show their attention to the issue as they campaign for re-election.

Three Democrats in competitive House races this election cycle — Reps. Yadira Caraveo, D-Colo., Gabe Vasquez, D-N.M., and Eric Sorenson, D-Ill. — have introduced bills, resolutions and amendments over the last year that would do little to limit the flow of migrants entering the country illegally, but they acknowledge the crisis.

Caraveo, who represents Colorado's 8th Congressional District, introduced a package of legislation earlier this year pertaining to some of the immigration struggles facing the United States.

The first-term lawmaker introduced two bills — the HELP for Interior Cities ACT and the ANTI-Drugs Act — in February and insisted both pieces of legislation address "the needs of Colorado communities in the wake of a recent increase in migrant arrivals."

REPUBLICANS PREDICT DEMS TO PAY 'HEAVY PRICE' IN ELECTION AFTER MAYORKAS IMPEACHMENT BID FAILS

"This comprehensive plan would deliver funding to interior cities like Denver that are in need of support, reduce the financial burden placed on local governments, and stem the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S. It would also deliver much-needed funding to law enforcement both at the border and here in Colorado," she said of the measures at the time.

The HELP for Interior Cities ACT does little to address the flow of migrants entering the country and provides additional funding for migrant shelters located in cities not found along the border. The ANTI-Drugs Act, however, would make an already-existing Department of Homeland program titled "Operation Stonegarden" permanent and give law enforcement agencies grants for equipment and "personnel, including overtime and backfill, in support of enhanced border law enforcement activities."

Prior to introducing the measures, Caraveo was one of 211 Democrats who voted against the Secure the Border Act of 2023. That measure, which passed in the House, would have expanded the type of crimes that make someone ineligible for asylum, limited the eligibility to those who arrive at ports of entry, mandated a system similar to the E-Verify employment eligibility verification system and created additional penalties for visa overstay.

Caraveo was also one of 210 House Democrats who voted against a GOP-led effort in the House to impeach Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas.

During her previous tenure in the Colorado state House of Representatives, Caraveo joined other Democrats from across the nation to send a letter urging the Biden administration to relax immigration rules and "divest from immigration enforcement agencies like ICE and CBP."

Another Democrat who has brought attention to the issue in recent months is Vasquez, who represents New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District.

Earlier this month, Vasquez introduced a resolution that "condemns Republican inaction on common-sense solutions to our Nation’s broken immigration system and the challenges our Nation faces at the border."

Like Caraveo, Vasquez voted against the Secure the Border Act of 2023. Last October, however, he introduced a package of immigration bills amid a skyrocketing number of illegal immigrants arriving at the U.S. border. Those measures aimed to increase penalties for smugglers and cartels who engage in violent crimes, provide pathways for certain migrants to lawfully work in the U.S. and fund additional personnel at ports of entry.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT ARRESTED IN CRASH THAT KILLED DEMOCRATIC SENATOR'S ADVISER

Prior to joining Congress, Vasquez lashed out at then-President Trump amid immigration woes in 2018 and insisted the idea of "sending the military to quell a non-existent threat" is "beyond stupid."

In a November 2020 post to Twitter, now known as X, Vasquez responded to one social media user who called for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection by writing, "the only ICE we need to be melting."

Vasquez was also one of many Democrats who applauded President Biden's decision to terminate construction of a border wall along the southern border. In a January 2021 post on social media, he said, "As of today, all construction on this racist, environmentally destructive, massive waste of money comes to a grinding halt. This vanity project was little more than a glorification of xenophobia and an insult to border communities. Lets tear it down."

Like Caraveo and Vasquez, Sorensen, who represents Illinois' 17th Congressional District, voted against the Secure the Border Act of 2023, which would have largely increased the total number of CBP agents.

Sorensen introduced two amendments to the Secure the Border Act — one that would require the hiring, training and assigning of "not fewer than 500 additional CBP officers" at points of entry and another that would have appropriated $25 million to "improve coordination" and "expand" a fentanyl task force.

Both amendments were not considered prior to a vote on the bill in the House, and Sorensen cited a lack of bipartisan cooperation in voting against the legislation.

After introducing the amendments, Sorensen went on to vote "nay" on impeachment efforts against Mayorkas earlier this year.

Sorensen, like most of his colleagues on his side of the aisle, has expressed opposition to the Trump-proposed idea of a southern border wall. In a November 2019 post promoting an Illinois restaurant, he wrote, "We don’t need border walls, we need more pancakes and burritos!"

Last July, Sorensen joined 201 other Democrats, including Vasquez and Caraveo, in voting against a measure that would have prevented the use of facilities of certain schools that receive federal financial assistance to provide shelter or housing to illegal immigrants. Additionally, the trio of Democrat lawmakers rejected a measure that aimed to prohibit the federal government from using certain federally administered lands to provide housing for illegal immigrants.

Caraveo and Vasquez are both seeking re-election to their seats that have been labeled "Democrat Toss Up" by the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election analyst. Sorensen's seat has been labeled as "Lean Democrat."

CBP records show the first six months of fiscal year 2024 had 1,340,801 total encounters, exceeding the first six months of fiscal year 2023, which set a record of 1,226,254 total encounters.

Caraveo, Vasquez and Sorenson did not respond to Fox News Digital's requests for comment.

Missouri AG slams Kansas City mayor for welcoming Mayorkas’ illegal immigrant parole program

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey is calling out Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas after he announced that illegal immigrants would be welcome to come to the city and work under Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ illegal immigrant parole program.

Bailey highlighted how the open border policies have real-world consequences in a letter to Mayor Lucas that was shared exclusively with Fox News Digital.

"An illegal alien from Venezula, who had repeatedly flouted U.S. immigration laws, was actually granted a work permit under a misguided and illegal policy enacted by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas," Bailey stated. "In February, he brutally murdered a young college student named Laken Hope Riley."

Bailey shared that Lucas failed to acknowledge this and openly welcomed all seeking refuge in Kansas City.

LAWMAKERS BERATE MAYORKAS ON LAKEN RILEY MURDER: ‘YOUR POLICIES IN ACTION’

"Yet, against the backdrop of literally millions of illegal aliens flooding our borders, overwhelming the social safety net of large American cities, and in some cases even committing violent crimes against our citizens, you are actively encouraging them to come to the Show Me State," Bailey said.

Bailey referenced the post Lucas wrote on social media proclaiming:

"All are welcome in Kansas City. Proud to work with my fellow mayors from Denver and NYC as we work to ensure decompression of new arriving communities." 

Bailey added that Lucas did later amend his statement and only extended the offer to "persons who are lawfully present, with lawful work permits," but said that Lucas ignored the underlying issue.

"Secretary Mayorkas' open border programs are themselves illegal. Your statements are wildly irresponsible," Bailey said. "Not only do you ignore the fact that Laken Riley's killer has a so-called "work permit," but you are actively encouraging Missouri businesses to become entangled in a fundamentally unlawful program, and exposing them to legal liability in the process."

DEM SENATOR'S CLAIM DOWNPLAYING BORDER CRISIS RESURFACES AFTER STAFFER KILLED BY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT

Bailey said that allowing and welcoming illegal immigrants violates a Missouri law that prohibits state businesses from hiring or employing illegal immigrants. It also makes it a felony to knowingly transport illegal immigrants in the state of Missouri.

"Make no mistake, my office will do everything in its power to take legal action against any person or entity found to be in violation of these statutes," Bailey proclaimed. 

Bailey continued stating that Missouri will now join 19 other state attorney generals who are suing Secretary Mayorkas over his "disastrous" and illegal parole program that unlawfully creates a pathway to citizenship for hundreds or thousands of illegal immigrants.

In his letter, Bailey stated that Mayorkas' illegal immigrant parole program would allow up to 360,000 illegal immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to be "paroled" into the United States every year.

"Your open invitation for illegal aliens to come to Missouri is not only dangerous but comes at great expense to Missouri taxpayers, residents, and business owners," Bailey said. 

DENVER MAYOR BOASTS 'SHARED SACRIFICE' IS REQUIRED TO MAKE CITY 'WELCOMING' FOR MIGRANTS

Bailey's letter to Lucas comes a day after Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., gave fiery testimony to the Senate for striking down Mayorkas' impeachment trial.

Sen. Hawley joined other Republican lawmakers who tore into Secretary Mayorkas on Thursday over the release of the Venezuelan illegal immigrant now charged with the murder of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley – accusing the agency of having released him into the U.S. unlawfully.

Lawmakers grilled the embattled secretary on Jose Ibarra, an illegal immigrant from Venezuela, who is accused of killing Riley on Feb. 22, while she was jogging at the University of Georgia in Athens.

In his testimony, Sen. Hawley revealed that Ibarra had been given a work permit, despite having been accused of a crime against a child in New York and having the charges later expunged by local authorities.

"Nothing is done to this guy. He had a criminal record to start with, he's in the country on illegal grounds. You have falsely and illegally allowed him in. He committed a crime against a child. He's not prosecuted, it's expunged. In November, get this, in November, Ibarra files an application for employment authorization. And unbelievably, on December 9, 2023, it's approved," Hawley said.

The Biden administration initially announced the parole program for Venezuelans in October, which allowed a limited number to fly directly into the U.S. as long as they had not entered illegally and already had a sponsor in the United States. 

However, in January, President Biden announced that the program would be expanded to include Haitians, Nicaraguans and Cubans and that the program would allow up to 30,000 a month into the U.S. The program also allows for migrants to receive work permits and a two-year authorization to live in the U.S.

Fox News Digital reached out to Mayor Quinton Lucas for comment. 

Fox News' and Caroline Elliott contributed to this report. 

Lawmakers berate Mayorkas on Laken Riley murder: ‘Your policies in action’

Republican lawmakers on Thursday tore into Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over the release of the Venezuelan illegal immigrant now charged with the murder of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley -- accusing the agency of having released him into the U.S. unlawfully.

Lawmakers grilled the embattled secretary on Jose Ibarra, an illegal immigrant from Venezuela, who is accused of killing Riley on Feb. 22, while she was jogging at the University of Georgia in Athens.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed with Fox News Digital previously that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had encountered Ibarra on Sept. 8, 2022, and he had been "paroled and released for further processing."

HAITIAN MIGRANT CHARGED WITH RAPE OF 15-YEAR-OLD GIRL ENTERED VIA CONTROVERSIAL PAROLE PROGRAM: SOURCES 

But lawmakers cited the parole case file showing that Ibarra had been released due to an alleged lack of detention space – although some conservatives have pointed to data showing that ICE was not near maximum capacity at the time of Ibarra's release. The statute governing parole, however, says that releases are only allowed due to urgent humanitarian reasons or "significant public benefit." Republicans have accused the administration of abusing parole with its broad policies at the border, saying that the paroles often do not meet these criteria.

Ranking Member Rand Paul asked Mayorkas about Ibarra’s release and about the legality of the basis for his parole. Mayorkas said that he would not comment on the case.

"All our hearts break for the family of Miss Riley. Secondly, the perpetrator of this heinous criminal act needs to meet justice to the fullest extent of the law. And I will not comment on the particulars of the case, because the matter is being prosecuted by authorities now," he said.

When Paul followed up, including asking the secretary if he was pleading the Fifth, Mayorkas said "I have provided my answer" but later expanded.

"There are different bases for parole. I am not a legal expert in this regard, but let me assure you that when an individual is encountered at the border, and they are deemed to be at the time of encounter a threat to public safety or national security, they are a priority for detention," he said. "If not, they receive a notice to appear and are placed in immigration enforcement proceedings. The number of individuals encountered at the border exceed the number of beds available in our detention facilities. That is not something specific to this administration."

But Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., then turned up the heat by reading directly from the parole file, which lawmakers had obtained. He also revealed that Ibarra had been given a work permit, despite having been accused of a crime against a child in New York and having the charges later expunged by local authorities.

"Nothing is done to this guy. He had a criminal record to start with, he's in the country on illegal grounds. You have falsely and illegally allowed him in. He committed a crime against a child. He's not prosecuted, it's expunged. In November, get this, in November, Ibarra files an application for employment authorization. And unbelievably, on December 9, 2023, it's approved," he said.

"So this is your policies [sic] in action, Mr. Secretary," he said.

JIM JORDAN ACCUSES MAYORKAS OF WITHHOLDING FILES OF ALLEGED ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT CRIMINAL

"I am confident that justice will be vindicated in the criminal prosecution of the case," Mayorkas responded, which led Hawley to make a reference to the recent impeachment effort against Mayorkas.

Well, hopefully he'll get more of a trial than you got," he said. "Otherwise, there'll be no justice for anyone at all." 

Separately, Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, raised the CHNV (Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan) parole program, which allows up to 30,000 migrants a month to fly or travel directly into the U.S. via parole.

"Why are you mass importing tens of thousands of Venezuelans into our country via parole, knowing they can't be deported, because Venezuela isn't exactly accepting removal flights? He asked him.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE COVERAGE OF THE BORDER SECURITY CRISIS

"We are not doing that, senator," Mayorkas said. "The term ‘importation’ is incorrect."

Mayorkas also said it was false to say that Venezuela won’t take return flights.

"So, why do you say it's not correct when it's been suspended? That's why Americans don't trust you," Marshall fired back.

Fox News' Aubrie Spady and Greg Wehner contributed to this report.

Dem senator’s claim downplaying border crisis resurfaces after staffer killed by illegal immigrant

Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto, D-Nev., claimed that there were "no open borders," just two days before the migrant arrested in a deadly car accident that killed her adviser illegally entered into the U.S.

In a resurfaced video from March 10, 2021, a month when Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) reported over 170,000 migrant encounters at the border, Cortez Masto is seen telling MSNBC that there was "a lot of misinformation" surrounding the southern border crisis.

"There's no open border," the Democrat Senator claimed. "As someone who was attorney general for eight years, my state worked very closely on the border with Mexico. There are no open borders."

Just two days later, on March 12, 2021, an illegal immigrant by the name of Elmer Rueda-Linares reportedly entered at or near the Rio Grande City, Texas, Port of Entry without inspection by an immigration official, ICE confirmed to Fox News Digital. That same migrant would go on to be arrested in connection with the death of one of Cortez Masto's own senior advisers.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT ARRESTED IN CRASH THAT KILLED DEMOCRATIC SENATOR'S ADVISER

Kurt Englehart, senior advisor to Cortez Masto, was killed in a car collision south of Downtown Reno, Nevada, on April 6, 2024. Rueda-Linares, the illegal migrant driving the vehicle that collided with Englehart, was arrested and charged with failing to stop at the scene of the accident.

HAITIAN MIGRANT, NOW A DOUBLE HOMICIDE SUSPECT, WAS ALLOWED INTO US BY BIDEN ADMIN VIA CONTROVERSIAL APP

CBP noted that encounters increased by 71 percent over February 2021 in March of that year, the same month Cortez Masto made the claim about the border.

Also that month, Fox News Digital reported that CBP agents had encountered a "large group" of illegal immigrants near Las Lomas, Texas, apprehending 134 illegal immigrants who had come to the southern border from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

When asked about the 2021 comment, a spokesperson for Cortez Masto stated that the Senator "has repeatedly pushed for additional border security funding under both the Trump and Biden administrations." Cortez Masto signed a letter in 2020 that demanded the reversal of Trump-era border policies, "condemning the Trump Administration for its harmful policies that have dismantled the United States’ asylum system."

"Senator Cortez Masto has repeatedly pushed for additional border security funding under both the Trump and Biden administrations and voted in February for the bipartisan border security package that Donald Trump and Senate Republicans refused to consider," Lauren Wodarski, spokesperson for Cortez Masto, told Fox News Digital in a statement. "To indicate otherwise is a distortion of her record."

In February 2021, Cortez Masto voted against an amendment that would prioritize "taking into custody aliens charged with a crime resulting in death or serious bodily injury."

Again in August 2021, Cortez Masto voted against establishing "a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to ensuring that the Department of Homeland Security, pursuant to Title 42, United States Code, conducts expulsions of illegal immigrants who may contribute to the spread of COVID-19, including any of the dangerous variants originating overseas, in order to protect the public health of the American People, save American lives, and assist in eradicating the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States." 

The Senator has since cosponsored pieces of legislation that seek to combat the ongoing fentanyl crisis. In 2024, Cortez Masto cosponsored the Stop Fentanyl at the Border Act "to improve border security, imposing new reporting requirements relating to border security, and enhancing criminal penalties for destroying or evading border controls," as well as signing onto the bipartisan Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act with GOP Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.

Most recently, the Democrat voted to dismiss the articles of impeachment filed against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of the southern border crisis.

Republicans in the House unveiled articles of impeachment against Mayorkas in January, claiming that the Biden administration secretary has "repeatedly violated laws enacted by Congress regarding immigration and border security."

"In large part because of his unlawful conduct, millions of aliens have illegally entered the United States on an annual basis with many unlawfully remaining in the United States," Republicans alleged. "Alejandro N. Mayorkas knowingly made false statements to Congress that the border is 'secure,' that the border is ‘no less secure than it was previously,’ that the border is 'closed,' and that DHS has ‘operational control’ of the border."

Cortez Masto called the impeachment inquiry a "waste of time." 

"There is no evidence that @SecMayorkas committed high crimes and misdemeanors, so I voted to end this waste of time," the Senator said in an April 17 post on X. "Republicans could have made real policy changes, but they decided to play games and killed the bipartisan border package in favor of this frivolous impeachment."

During the Senate's meeting Wednesday on the dismissal of impeachment articles against Mayrokas, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, appeared to mention the incident in which Cortez Masto's staffer was killed as an example of ramifications of the ongoing southern border crisis. 

"The consequences of our open border policy can touch all of us," Lee said. "One of our dear, respected colleagues having lost a beloved staff member in the last few days. Having lost that staff member as a consequence of the actions taken by an immigrant in this country, who was here unlawfully, who shouldn't have been here. That's a troubling thing."

Fox News' Michael Dorgan contributed to this report.

Border Patrol busts illegal Mexican immigrant child sex offender they say carried guns in schools

Border Patrol agents in California this week busted an illegal immigrant child sex offender in California who officials said had previously carried guns in schools – the latest example of dangerous criminals entering the U.S. illegally. 

The unnamed Mexican man’s arrest was announced by El Centro Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gregory Bovino.

Bovino said in a statement that the man was arrested in the U.S. illegally and had a "troubling history." 

CBP REPORT REVEALS LOWEST MARCH FOR MIGRANT ENCOUNTERS; TEXAS CRACKDOWN CONTINUES

"He’s a convicted sex offender against children & has been known to carry firearms in public schools," he said.

He added that the community of Fresno in California "no longer has to worry about this threat."

CLICK HERE FOR MORE COVERAGE OF THE BORDER SECURITY CRISIS

So far, there have been over 8,700 arrests of criminal noncitizens this fiscal year, compared to more than 15,000 in fiscal 2023 and more than 12,000 in fiscal 2022. Among them this year were 119 sex offenders. There has been continued concern among some law enforcement and lawmakers that the ongoing crisis at the southern border has led to more criminals attempting to enter, including sneaking past Border Patrol agents as "gotaways."

Meanwhile, there were 189,372 encounters at the border in March, slightly lower than the same time last year.

While it was the lowest March for encounters under the Biden administration, CBP records show the first six months of fiscal 2024 had 1,340,801 total encounters, exceeding the first six months of fiscal 2023, which set a record of 1,226,254 total encounters. 

"CBP – in coordination with our partners across the Federal government as well as foreign partners – continues to take significant actions to disrupt criminal networks amidst unprecedented hemispheric migration activity," Acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller said in a statement. "Encounters at our southern border are lower right now, but we remain prepared for changes, continually managing operations to respond to ever-shifting transnational criminal activities and migration patterns."

Meanwhile, Republicans have blamed the Biden administration for the crisis. This week, Republicans in the House will deliver articles of impeachment against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Senate – U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a DHS law enforcement agency.

Fox News’ Stephany Price contributed to this report.

Mayorkas deflects when asked if ‘above 85%’ of illegal immigrants are released into the US

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas deflected questioning Wednesday on Capitol Hill when he was asked about a Fox News Digital article stating that he has admitted to Border Patrol agents that the current rate of release for illegal immigrants apprehended at the U.S. border is "above 85%." 

Rep. Michael Guest was grilling Mayorkas about the statistic during a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Homeland Security’s fiscal year 2025 budget request. 

"It was reported in January of this year that at a meeting with Border Patrol agents that you said that the current rate of release for illegal immigrants apprehended at the southwest border is above 85%. One, did that conversation take place and two, is that number accurate?" the Republican from Mississippi asked Mayorkas. 

"Congressman, I'm not familiar with that number and I'm not certain to which conversation you refer. I have visited the border so very many times," he responded. "Perhaps some additional details would guide me in responding your question accurately." 

MAYORKAS TELLS BORDER PATROL AGENTS THAT ‘ABOVE 85%’ OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS RELEASED INTO US: SOURCES 

Guest then read Mayorkas the opening paragraphs from the Fox News Digital report, which said he "made the remarks when meeting privately with agents in Eagle Pass, Texas, according to three Border Patrol sources who were in the room and heard the remarks themselves." 

"Congressman, I'll be pleased to provide you with the data points, and certainly I don't view that article as a transcript," Mayorkas said. 

GOP PLANS TO GRIND SENATE TO A HALT IF DEMOCRATS TABLE MAYORKAS IMPEACHMENT TRIAL 

"So you're not disputing this article? You're not saying that that number is artificially high? You're just saying at this point that you don't have that number here to either admit or deny the 85% that it was alleged there in the article?" Guest then asked. 

"I cannot confirm, and I will do so," Mayorkas said. 

The exchange comes as Republican senators are gearing up to prevent all legislative business in the Senate from going forward if they don't get a full trial into the articles of impeachment against Mayorkas. The House voted to impeach Mayorkas in February. 

Five sources told Fox News Digital that roughly a dozen GOP senators have been planning for more than a week to obstruct legislative proceedings and regular business in the Senate if, at a minimum, points of order are not agreed to in the impeachment trial of Mayorkas when the House impeachment managers deliver the articles to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. 

Fox News’ Julia Johnson contributed to this report. 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Mayorkas’s impeachment trial

We’ve seen impeachment trials a lot on Capitol Hill in recent years. The Senate conducted two impeachment trials of former President Trump in early 2020 and early 2021.

But no living American has ever witnessed the impeachment trial which is about to begin in the United States Senate.

Blink and you might miss it.

The House impeached Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in February. The House accuses Mayorkas of not following the law when it comes to securing the border and lying to Congress. Mayorkas became only the second cabinet secretary ever impeached. The first was Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., hasn’t tipped his hand yet on how he’ll handle the articles, but Schumer is expected to move to dismiss or table the articles. The Senate must vote to do that. If all 51 senators who caucus with the Democrats vote to punt, they can extinguish the trial quickly.

ABBOTT SENDS BIDEN MESSAGE AS TEXAS NATIONAL GUARD REINFORCES BORDER RAZOR FENCING

But don’t expect Republicans to go quietly.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., says the Senate is obligated to conduct a full trial of Mayorkas and render judgment. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and other Republicans may try to elongate the trial. They argue that senators have a constitutional obligation to listen to arguments for and against impeachment. So expect them to make points of order – possibly forcing the Senate to vote – to consider the articles. However, Senate Democrats can euthanize each of those points of order – if they stick together and table each of the GOP motions.

Still, the trial might not last long. But here’s the minimum which must unfold on the Senate floor over the coming days.

Expect the following:

The House voted to impeach Mayorkas by a solitary vote in February. The House failed in its first effort to impeach after Rep. Al Green, D-Tex., materialized unexpectedly (directly from the hospital) and foiled the GOP’s plans. After a second vote to impeach, the House then appointed 11 impeachment "managers." They serve as de facto "prosecutors," presenting the House’s case to the Senate. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., serves as the lead impeachment manager. All 100 senators will sit as "jurors" when the trial begins. Mayorkas does not appear at the trial nor is he required to attend.

On Wednesday, House Sergeant at Arms Bill McFarland and Acting Clerk of the House Kevin McCumber will escort the managers and the articles of impeachment themselves from the House, across the Capitol Rotunda, to the Senate wing of the Capitol. That’s where the Senate will "receive" the articles of impeachment. Senate Sergeant at Arms Karen Gibson will greet the House entourage in the Senate wing of the Capitol and escort everyone to the Senate chamber.

All 100 senators will await the coterie from the House. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is the President Pro Tempore of the Senate – the most senior member of the majority party. She will preside over the impeachment trial – not Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts. The Chief Justice typically only presides over impeachment trials involving the President or Vice President. Roberts was in charge for former President Trump’s first trial in 2020. But then-Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., presided over the second impeachment trial in 2021. Leahy was the Senate’s President Pro Tempore back then.

MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE'S RED LINE ON SPEAKER JOHNSON

The impeachment articles are then read to the Senate.

It’s possible Lee and company could try to offer their motions then. But Murray could rule him out of order. The Senate hasn’t even sworn-in senators yet to adjudicate the trial. Moreover, the Senate could find itself either in legislative session (working on a bill) or executive session (working on a nomination) when the Senate stops its action to receive the articles. Therefore, motions by senators pertaining to the trial aren’t applicable at that moment.

Under Senate impeachment rules, things really get started the next day at 1 pm ET. That’s when the Senate swears in the senators. Gibson will announce that everyone should remain quiet "on pain of imprisonment." At that point, we are technically "in trial." Thus, motions are in order. In the past, the Senate could consider a resolution to establish parameters for how to handle the trial. Schumer could possibly move immediately to dismiss or table the articles. Or Lee and company could make their motions as well.

But here’s the problem for Republicans:

Schumer is the Senate Majority Leader. As Majority Leader, Schumer is recognized first by Murray, the presiding officer. Schumer could potentially short-circuit anything Republicans want to do by jumping ahead and making a motion to table or dismiss. The Senate would then vote on whether to halt proceedings right there. Republicans may never get a shot.

It is important to note that senators don’t "debate" during an impeachment trial. However, they could agree to debate in closed session – not out in the open.

I WANT MY MTV (MOTION TO VACATE): SPEAKER JOHNSON FACES POTENTIAL THREAT WHEN CONGRESS RETURNS

However, a vote to dismiss the articles – or on anything Republicans cook up – carries political consequences for Democrats facing competitive re-election bids this fall. Think Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Jon Tester, D-Mont., Bob Casey, D-Mich., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., and Jacky Rosen, D-Nev. Republicans will likely weaponize any roll call vote Democrats to truncate the impeachment trial. Republicans will try to portray these vulnerable Democrats as not taking the border or the charges leveled at Mayorkas seriously.

In short, the trial is likely to be short. Not the impeachment trials of former President Trump. The Senate spread out the first one over a period of 19 days. The second one consumed five days.

In fact, the model for a quick dismissal is an impeachment you probably haven’t heard of: Former federal judge Samuel Kent in 2009.

The House impeached Kent in June 2009. But Kent stepped down before the Senate trial began. The House then adopted a resolution to halt its "prosecution" of Kent. The Senate then voted to dispense with the articles before conducting a trial.

So Kent’s circumstances are not exactly what will go down with Mayorkas. But Kent’s scenario of a quick dismissal is closer to what could unfold in the next few days compared to the more robust trials of former President Trump.

Chicago mayor urges Biden to grant work permits to half million illegal immigrants

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson urged President Biden on Thursday to grant work permits to nearly 500,000 illegal migrants living in the state. Johnson also said the city, which has roughly 2.7 million people, can "conservatively" welcome another 400,000 to 700,000 illegal migrants.

"We need the president to extend the same economic opportunities long term for our undocumented brothers and sisters, so they can build a better life here in the city of Chicago or wherever else they decide to live," Johnson said during a roundtable with urban business leaders on Thursday. 

"I want to make this emphatically clear: Chicago will never turn its back on people who wish to call the city of Chicago their home," Johnson said.

DEMOCRATIC ILLINOIS ‘SUPER MAYOR’ VETOES ATTEMPT TO PROBE HER LAVISH SPENDING

Johnson, whose one-year anniversary as mayor was also Thursday, said he penned a letter to the Biden administration, pushing harder for additional work permits, with the support of dozens of other city mayors, including Denver, New York, Seattle and San Francisco.

"I remain standing in my belief that a more inclusive and equitable future for all residents is truly possible, whether they arrived here yesterday or have been here for an extended period of time," he said.

The mayor added that even though the "humanitarian crisis" continues to overwhelm and "test the city," officials will not "waver in their commitment to the immigrant communities."

READ MORE OF FOX NEWS' COVERAGE OF THE BORDER CRISIS

As the slow rollout of work permits issued by the federal government has left big cities overwhelmed by the illegal migrant crisis and overcrowded shelters, city leaders have been urging the administration to grant more permits for additional arrivals and extend existing ones. This year's work permits expire on April 24.

In February, more than 40 mayors sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ur Jaddou, calling for automatic extensions for existing work permits of at least 540 days.

CDC SENDS RESPONSE TEAM TO CHICAGO MIGRANT SHELTER AMID MEASLES OUTBREAK

On Thursday, the administration announced an extension from 180 to 540 days for certain categories of illegal migrants "to help prevent renewal applicants from experiencing a lapse in their employment authorization and documentation." It's unclear how many of Chicago's illegal migrants will be eligible for those extensions.

Last year, Johnson faced backlash from Chicago residents at several city and community meetings who were frustrated by illegal migrants being dumped in their neighborhoods. More than 20,000 migrants have arrived in the city since August 2022 and thousands remain in shelters.