WASHINGTON - Less than a week after 53 people – all suspected migrants – died in a tractor-trailer found abandoned in a remote area of San Antonio, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the administration continues to tell migrants not to show up at the U.S-Mexico border.
"We have said repeatedly, and we continue to warn people not to take the dangerous journey," Mayorkas said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday.
He said on ABC News' "This Week" on Sunday that DHS has "a multifaceted approach, not only to work with our partner countries but to bring law enforcement to bare, to attack the smuggling organizations in an unprecedented way," and called for legislation to address immigration.
"Ultimately, because the border has been a challenge for decades, ultimately Congress must pass legislation to once and for all fix our broken immigration system," he said.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday condemned human smuggling networks that "have no regard for the lives they endanger and exploit to make a profit.
"This incident underscores the need to go after the multibillion-dollar criminal smuggling industry preying on migrants and leading to far too many innocent deaths," Biden said in a statement.
'Remain in Mexico' will take time to end
On Thursday, the Supreme Court, allowed the Biden administration to end a Trump-era immigration policy known as "Remain in Mexico," a program that requires migrants seeking asylum to remain in Mexico while their cases are reviewed.
Mayorkas praised the Supreme Court's decision to end "Remain in Mexico" , saying the administration is "very pleased with the Supreme Court decision," because the policy " has endemic flaws and causes unjustifiable human tragedy."
Ending the ruling will take several weeks because the Supreme Court's decision would need to be communicated to the lower courts, Mayorkas said. Once that happens, the district courts can lift its injection that prevents the Biden administration from ending the program, according to Mayorkas.
Although "Remain in Mexico" may come to an end, Title 42 remains in effect and allows Customs and Border Protection to expel migrants to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This public health order has keptsouthern U.S. border closed.
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Vice President Kamala Harris, the Biden administration's point person for tackling the root causes of migration, traveled in June 2021 to Guatemala and Mexico, where she announced the creation of task forces to address challenges in the region, such as stemming trafficking, improving governance and promoting human rights.
Part of her mandate is to identify a reliable partner in the region with whom the United States could spearhead policy initiatives.
Contributing: Rebecca Morin, Joey Garrison
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mayorkas: DHS continues to tell migrants not to cross into US