SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was in San Ysidro Tuesday to meet with local DHS employees and San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.
This was Mayorkas’ first visit to the region since the ports of entry reopened to non-essential travelers after a 20-month closure because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayorkas spent the evening meeting with local Customs and Border Protection officials, and he was then joined by Gloria for a press conference with the media.
When asked about the omicron variant, the secretary said the border would stay open and reiterated that travelers must be ready to confirm their vaccine status verbally and with proof if asked by an officer.
Regarding the "Remain in Mexico" program, which forces migrants to wait in Mexico until their asylum court hearing, Mayorkas said the Biden administration only had to reinstate it after a court order and appeal of the ruling has been filed.
Mayorkas said the message to migrants remains the same, reiterating that individuals should not put their life savings in the hands of smuggling organizations that exploit their vulnerability
A small group of protesters gathered outside the port, criticizing the administration not just for Remain in Mexico but also for Title 42, which during the pandemic expels migrants without giving them a change to apply for asylum.
Mayorkas suggested that expelling migrants under Title 42 without allowing them to make their asylum claim would end once that pandemic is behind us.
San Ysidro was just one stop for Mayorkas, earlier Tuesday he visited San Francisco and on Monday he was in Phoenix.