Brutal: CBS’s Dokoupil Surprisingly Brings the Heat to Mayorkas on Biden Border Crisis

News & Politics

On Thursday’s CBS Mornings, co-host Tony Dokoupil surprisingly brought the heat against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas amid the latest wave in the ongoing Biden border crisis, calling out Mayorkas’s anger-filled attacks against Republicans and reminding him that his boss — President Biden — campaigned on encouraging illegal immigration.

Dokoupil began with the facts that “the bitter political fight over America’s migrant crisis, it is coming to a head” with December crossings hitting an all-time high of “more than 300,000” illegals detained on top of “a record in fiscal year 2022.”

Citing the Wednesday trip by House Republicans to the border, he brought in Mayorkas and noted he’s “who Republicans blame for this crisis” and, as such, want to impeach him.

Mayorkas immediately lashed out, saying he didn’t “have time for words like that” and “[w]e are focused here on solutions” for “incredibly talented public servants” who put their lives on the line.

After reiterating he had “time for politics” and not “politics,”  Dokoupil presented the Republican point of view (and the facts):

Republicans say the border is not secure and Mike Johnson, the Speaker of the House, he says the necessary next step is to stop the flow. The hydrant is on, in his metaphor, and they don’t need more buckets. They need to turn it off. What is the White House proposing to solve the flow problem that Republicans have identified?

Mayorkas channeled Karine Jean-Pierre by not only downplaying the crisis as “not specific or exclusive” given the “level[s] of migration throughout our hemisphere,” but also citing Biden’s day-one legislation that was a wish list for pro-amnesty groups.

Dokoupil wasn’t having any of this and laid into this faux concern given Biden’s campaign position that encouraged illegal immigration:

I mean, respectfully, yes, there is a global migration crisis, but the President of the United States, also as a candidate, said, “Come, come to the U.S. if you want to claim asylum, restore the dignity of that process.” That was his position. And so people are coming, the numbers have gone up tremendously, and nothing in the White House’s plan addresses what Republicans are saying is so important. Catch-and-release, a phrase you hear. What that means is people come across the border, they claim asylum, and then they’re allowed to stay in this country for years while they wait for that process to play out — years and years and years. People know that’s the game, they know the bar for asylum is low, the claim bar is low, and so they come. Are you doing anything? Are you willing to do anything to stop the flow in that way?

Mayorkas snapped back that Dokoupil needed to “allow me to finish”. Dokoupil’s follow-up brought more teeth by again citing Republican priorities and pointing out there’s no disincentive to cross the border for those looking to (click “expand”):

MAYORKAS: Allow me to finish my answer. On the first day in office, President Biden sent a legislative proposal to Congress to fix what everyone agrees is a broken immigration system. I have dealt with the immigration system, first as a prosecutor in the 1990s, and then as an administrator beginning in 2009 and the years’ long process that you describe has been a problem in the immigration system ever since I’ve worked in it. And everyone agrees that the system is broken. And what we are doing is enforcing our laws. We are enforcing our laws —

DOKOUPIL: Mr. Secretary —

MAYORKAS: — criminal laws, our immigration laws, and that includes our asylum laws. And when people come to the United States at the border, they are placed in immigration enforcement proceedings, and those proceedings take many years because our system is broken and it is also underfunded.

DOKOUPIL: — Mr. Secretary —

MAYORKAS: We need Congress to fix the system, and we need the resources to administer it.

DOKOUPIL: — Mr. Secretary, I’m glad you talked about enforcing the laws because what this conversation is about is what the law should be. You’re talking to senators and the White House about a bill on that side of the chamber. The House has already passed something. So what I’m really asking you here is would you change the law? Do you support changes to the law to reduce the flow? And I’ll give you specifics that Republicans want on the table, they want the standard for allowing a person to come across the border in between ports of entry, illegally is the word for it, and wait here. They want that standard to be higher. Right now, it’s just credible fear. They want it to be more likely than not you’d be allowed to stay. I think you know the reality is most people who cross the border and claim asylum, the vast majority do not actually receive asylum and then they’re just here. So will you change the standard at the border as a matter of law?

Moments later, Dokoupil pivoted to Democratic-run cities and asking what the White House would do to help them as well as the starving people themselves. Mayorkas ignored this completely and instead claimed Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) is the cause of the border crisis.

Dokoupil conceded “both parties are playing games,” but tore into Mayorkas as time had run out on the interview: “[Y]ou’re not talking about the fundamental point of contradiction. The Republicans want a stop to the flow with very specific ideas, you’re not even talking about those ideas this morning.”

Of course, Mayorkas insisted on saying his piece: “I would respectfully disagree with you. I would respectfully disagree with you.”

To see the relevant transcript from January 4, click “expand.”

CBS Mornings [via WUSA-9 on Paramount+]
January 4, 2023
7:31 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: U.S. Border Battle; GOP & White House Spar Over How to Secure Border Amid Migrant Crisis]

TONY DOKOUPIL: [A]nd the bitter political fight over America’s migrant crisis, it is coming to a head. We already told you, attempted border crossings reached an all-time high in December with more than 300,000 migrants detained. It was also a record in fiscal year 2022. Dozens of House Republicans, to draw attention to the issue, they went to the border yesterday. And now, they are threatening to shut down the government if the flow is not stopped. Also, House Homeland Security Committee members are moving ahead with impeachment proceedings against the Homeland Security Secretary, that is Alejandro Mayorkas, who Republicans blame for this crisis. They say he has done it intentionally, and he joins us now from Washington. Good morning, Mr. Secretary. There are people involved in this and —

DHS SECRETARY ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: Good morning.

DOKOUPIL: I want to get to a potential solutions for the people — it’s good to see you — but the personalities here are also significant. They’re going to try to impeach you in the House. They say you’re doing this intentionally and that you’re a liar. Your reaction.

MAYORKAS: I don’t have time for words like that. We are focused here on solutions. I lead a Department of 260,000 incredibly talented public servants, men and women who work at great sacrifice to secure the border, combat human trafficking, protect our country from cybersecurity attacks, so much more. This is the work that we do to ensure the safety and security of the American public. I don’t have time for politics. We’re focused on solutions.

DOKOUPIL: Mr. Secretary, let’s talk about solutions because of course, Republicans say the border is not secure and Mike Johnson, the Speaker of the House, he says the necessary next step is to stop the flow. The hydrant is on, in his metaphor, and they don’t need more buckets. They need to turn it off. What is the White House proposing to solve the flow problem that Republicans have identified?

MAYORKAS: So first of all, we are facing a challenge that is not specific or exclusive to the United States. We’re facing a level of migration throughout our hemisphere that is unprecedented. On the first day in office, President Biden sent to Congress a legislative solution. Everyone agrees.

DOKOUPIL: Mr. Secretary —

MAYORKAS: — that the immigration system of the United States —

DOKOUPIL: — Mr. Secretary —

MAYORKAS: — yes?

DOKOUPIL: I mean, respectfully, yes, there is a global migration crisis, but the President of the United States, also as a candidate, said, “Come, come to the U.S. if you want to claim asylum, restore the dignity of that process.” That was his position. And so people are coming, the numbers have gone up tremendously, and nothing in the White House’s plan addresses what Republicans are saying is so important. Catch-and-release, a phrase you hear. What that means is people come across the border, they claim asylum, and then they’re allowed to stay in this country for years while they wait for that process to play out — years and years and years. People know that’s the game, they know the bar for asylum is low, the claim bar is low, and so they come. Are you doing anything? Are you willing to do anything to stop the flow in that way?

MAYORKAS: Allow me to finish my answer. On the first day in office, President Biden sent a legislative proposal to Congress to fix what everyone agrees is a broken immigration system. I have dealt with the immigration system, first as a prosecutor in the 1990s, and then as an administrator beginning in 2009 and the years’ long process that you describe has been a problem in the immigration system ever since I’ve worked in it. And everyone agrees that the system is broken. And what we are doing is enforcing our laws. We are enforcing our laws —

DOKOUPIL: Mr. Secretary —

MAYORKAS: — criminal laws, our immigration laws, and that includes our asylum laws. And when people come to the United States at the border, they are placed in immigration enforcement proceedings, and those proceedings take many years because our system is broken and it is also underfunded.

DOKOUPIL: — Mr. Secretary —

MAYORKAS: We need Congress to fix the system, and we need the resources to administer it.

DOKOUPIL: — Mr. Secretary, I’m glad you talked about enforcing the laws because what this conversation is about is what the law should be. You’re talking to senators and the White House about a bill on that side of the chamber. The House has already passed something. So what I’m really asking you here is would you change the law? Do you support changes to the law to reduce the flow? And I’ll give you specifics that Republicans want on the table, they want the standard for allowing a person to come across the border in between ports of entry, illegally is the word for it, and wait here. They want that standard to be higher. Right now, it’s just credible fear. They want it to be more likely than not you’d be allowed to stay. I think you know the reality is most people who cross the border and claim asylum, the vast majority do not actually receive asylum and then they’re just here. So will you change the standard at the border as a matter of law?

MAYORKAS: There are bipartisan negotiations ongoing now. Republican and Democratic senators are at the table to discuss how the broken immigration system should be fixed. I am privileged to be a part of those discussions and provide technical and operational advice to those senators who are focused on solutions. This is all about solutions, not making the problem worse by taking away the funding that our public servants rely on to do their work in the service of the American public.

DOKOUPIL: Because of the standards at the border and the flow issue that Republicans have identified, Democratic leaders — mayors, governors — they are struggling. Abbott — Governor Abbott in Texas is busing people to different states. They are showing up on doorsteps. They’re in the streets. They can’t work. They’re hungry. They’re begging. It’s a big, big problem. What is the White House willing to do to come to the aid of your fellow Democrats who say we need help?

MAYORKAS: So a few things, number one, we have sought and received some funding from Congress to assist mayors and governors in addressing the migration challenge. But let me ask you a question, do you think it is responsible governance for one governor to refuse to coordinate, communicate, cooperate with other state officials around the country, and just unilaterally bus people to another locality without informing the receiving locality so that we can work together to address a challenge that our country faces? Is that the type of patriotism and governance that we expect of our officials?

DOKOUPIL: I think that both parties are playing games and have been for decades on this issue, and you’re not talking about the fundamental point of contradiction. The Republicans want a stop to the flow with very specific ideas, you’re not even talking about those ideas this morning. And so both sides are playing politics as they have been for a very long time. Secretary Mayorkas —

MAYORKAS: I would respectfully disagree with you. I would respectfully disagree with you.

DOKOUPIL: — we have to leave it there. We’ll have a longer conversation at a future date. Secretary Mayorkas, thank you very much.

MAYORKAS: Thank you so much.

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