At her daily press briefing on Wednesday,
‘So who else can we ask?’ Doocy asked.
When the press secretary attempted to direct him back to DHS, an incredulous Doocy replied, ‘He says he doesn’t know.’
‘I am confident that he wanted to have the most up-to-date numbers and we will venture to get you those -I promise, this afternoon,’ Psaki replied.
In a follow-up question Doocy asked if the issue was not knowing or if ‘a lot more people are being released into the US than are being sent out.’
‘That is certainly not the issue,’ Psaki said.
It’s not clear when those figures will actually become public.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki told a Fox News reporter that he’ll get updated numbers on the migrant crisis this afternoon
Peter Doocy grilled Psaki on the Biden administration’s perceived inaction on immigration reform
Mayorkas meanwhile was at the Capitol today for his second day of back-to-back Congressional hearings.
Republican Florida Rep. Carlos Gimenez asked Mayorkas today about how many of the migrants apprehended at the border this year were detained, returned or ‘dispersed.’
‘I would be pleased to provide you with specific data subsequent to this hearing, congressman,’ Mayorkas answered.
Gimenez accused Mayorkas of being unprepared for the hearing, to which the DHS chief snapped about his long work hours.
‘I work 18 hours a day, OK? So when I returned from yesterday’s hearing, I actually focused on mission. We will get that data, both to the senator who posed it yesterday and to you, congressman, today,’ he said.
It follows on from Tuesday’s hearing before the Senate when Mayorkas still could not provide migrant data.
‘I want some numbers here. Of the 1.3 million people that we’ve apprehended, how many people have been returned? How many people are being detained? How many people have been dispersed to all points around America?’ Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin asked the secretary during a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing.
DHS Secretary Mayorkas was grilled by lawmakers in back-to-back hearings yesterday and today
‘Senator, I would be pleased to provide you with that data — ‘ Mayorkas said before he was cut off.
‘I want them now,’ Johnson demanded. ‘Why don’t you have that information now?’
‘Senator, I do not have that data before me,’ Mayorkas replied.
‘Why not? Why don’t you have that basic information?’ the senator asked.
‘Senator, I want to be accurate,’ Mayorkas said.
The secretary revealed Tuesday that around 5,000 migrants have been removed from the encampment surrounding the Del Rio International Bridge as the Department of Homeland Security launches a probe into agents on horseback using what appeared to be whips against the mostly Haitian migrants.
‘How many migrants have crossed into the United States in Del Rio over the past week?’ Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley asked Mayorkas.
‘So last week, I think the high point was 13,000-15,000 – it is now well below 10,000. We continue to move individuals from Del Rio to other processing centers to facilitate their repatriation,’ the DHS secretary responded.
‘We have increased the number of repatriation flights to Haiti and to other countries,’ Mayorkas added as it was revealed this week DHS is aiming to send out several deportation flights per day.
Migrants stand in line while awaiting transport out of a border makeshift camp along the International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas on September 22
A photo from September 22 shows migrants being routed out of a makeshift border camp after being processed by US officials. The White House has pledged to deport most of the migrants back to Haiti under Title 42, but reports indicate that’s not the case for some being released
U.S. Border Patrol agents ride near a migrant camp in Del Rio, Texas on September 22
Mayorkas also refused to say whether he felt he and the Biden administration bear any responsibility for the influx of Haitian migrants over the last few weeks or the broader border crisis in general.
The DHS chief visited the border after increasing pressure to do so as images of mostly Haitian migrants in a tent city under the Del Rio bridge spurred accusations the Biden administration was enabling a humanitarian crisis.
The administration used the Trump-era Title 42 policy as a shield, claiming migrants would be sent back to the Caribbean country, which is still reeling from a deadly earthquake and political instability following the assassination of its president.
Under Title 42, migrants can be repatriated to their home nations without the possibility of requesting asylum due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, officials told DailyMail.com that thousands of Haitian migrants are being freed into the US on a ‘very, very large scale’ rather than being flown out on the deportation flights.
Two US officials with knowledge of the situation in Del Rio – where a peak of around 14,600 mostly Haitian migrants were camped out under a bridge at the weekend after crossing into the US from Mexico – said thousands have been released into the US with notices to appear at an immigration court in 60 days’ time under the so-called ‘catch and release’ scheme.
Others have been sent on buses and planes to other parts of the US to be processed by Border Patrol agents there, they said.