Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is facing tough questions from Congress about securing the southern border.
Mayorkas claims the U.S. has "effectively managed" the border crisis under the Biden administration. But that isn't flying with critics, and now both Republicans and Democrats are raising concerns about lifting a policy put in place during the COVID pandemic known as Title 42.
That move is expected to lead to a massive surge of illegal immigrants.
The administration's handling of Title 42 has become a bipartisan sticking point. The policy had allowed border agents to turn away migrants at the border due to COVID concerns.
"Under this administration, our department has been executing a comprehensive strategy to secure our borders and rebuild our immigration system," Mayorkas said to his first of three Congressional panels on Wednesday.
His Capitol Hill rounds are part of the department's routine requests for their budget. Title 42 is overshadowing those budget requests, with lawmakers from both sides concerned that lifting the policy will fuel an already surging border problem.
"I think it's ludicrous that you're saying, 'comprehensive and deliberate strategies since 2021' and yet here we are with a worsening and compounding crisis at our southern border," said Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa).
Other Republicans shared that sentiment while questioning Mayorkas.
"I am appalled by the fact that it's been a year since you sat before us last and the only change at the southwest border is that the situation has gotten much worse," said Mississippi Republican Steven Palazzo.
Title 42 is set to expire near the end of May, and some Democrats, including Democrat senators from Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada, have joined in the pushback to ending the program.
"42 should not be done away with until we get an immigration policy or until the CDC basically says we basically don't have a health crisis and with a health crisis we can't take any more chance of people coming, undocumented and unchecked," said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).
Mayorkas told Congress the problem is theirs to fix.
"We inherited a broken and dismantled system that is already under strain. It is not built to manage the current levels and types of migratory flows. Only Congress can fix this," he said.
Mayorkas is facing another round of questioning from the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.