The Bold and the Beautifully Dumb: The Best and Worst Journos at the Mayorkas Briefing

May 11th, 2023 8:29 PM

Thursday’s White House press briefing was a barn burner ahead of Title 42’s expiration with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas playing stand-in for the ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Not surprisingly, Mayorkas spun a fantastical tale of border security, order, and speedy deportation of illegal immigrants who fail to have their ducks in a row. And, also not surprisingly, some reporters came with substance while others came lacking a noggin.

Below are some of the best (and worst) questions/exchanges from the briefing, including far-left hack April Ryan resurrecting false claims about border agents whipping illegal immigrants and, at the other end of the ledger, Fox Business’s Edward Lawrence on how much illegal immigrants have strained our country’s education and welfare systems.


Worst — April Ryan Blasts Mayorkas From the Left, Demanding Care for Illegals from...Africa

Race-baiting April Ryan of theGrio naturally made it all about African-Americans in her questions by lecturing Mayorkas about how black illegal immigrants are being discriminated against in favor of Hispanics.

After demanding Mayorkas net or safeguard some of these black migrants trying to come for asylum” “from Africa and Caribbean nations” as their journeys are “too dangerous” compared to other races, she reupped the fake news about the horse whips.



To his credit, Mayorkas called her out (even though he bought into that narrative last year) (click “expand”):

RYAN: [B]ut the southern border is not just Mexicans. It is Haitians, it’s Africans, as we’ve seen, particularly with that issue with the Haitians being whipped with the reins or the horses. But what is there — 

MAYORKAS: Well, let me just correct you right there. Because — actually, the investigation concluded that the whipping did not occur.

RYAN: I’m sorry, I saw it differently. They were whipped with something from the horse, reins from a horse. I — I — maybe the video or picture was fixed, but what I saw was totally different. I’m sorry.

MAYORKAS: I’m going to leave — 

RYAN: Yes.

MAYORKAS: — you as — corrected.

RYAN: But what happens again, the Mexican border is not just Mexicans. It’s Africans and Haitians. What is there in place as you hear from people who are advocates for immigrants like Nana Gyamfi to help those who are trying to seek asylum from places like Haiti that has gangs, they can’t even have an election because things are — the atrocities there are so great. 

MAYORKAS: So a few — a few responses. Number one, we have set up the CBP1 app to enable people to make appointments and arrive at ports of entry safely if they qualify for exceptions under the public health authority of Title 42, which of course is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. We have admitted approximately 740 people through that CBP1 app per day. The majority of the individuals admitted have been Haitian. We are expanding that CBP1 app to reach as many as 1,000 people a day. And we are setting up regional processing centers throughout the region, working very closely with countries to the south, working with Colombia and others, and we expect to set up as many as 100 or more of those processing centers that will be open to people of all nationalities to obtain humanitarian relief.


Best — CNBC’s Tausche: You Say ‘The Border Is Closed,’ But ‘Crossings Continue to Notch Records’

CNBC Washington correspondent Kayla Tausche snuck in with the penultimate question of Mayorkas’s availability and provided a serious reality check.

Tausche pointed out that “for years, the administration has said that the border is closed” and the new message is “do not spend your life savings coming here,” but it’s meant nothing as “migrant crossings continue to notch records.”

“I’m wondering what you think it will take for that message to land,” she added.

Mayorkas doubled down, insisting the targeting of smugglers and warnings to would-be illegal immigrants are the right approaches. In a truly Way Too Online fashion, he proclaimed the arrival of “an extraordinary digital campaign to amplify that messaging” intended to stave off the flood.


Worst — State-Run NPR Wonders If This Is Crisis is ‘An Opportunity’ to Show Strength

If it weren’t for Ryan, this would be the dumbest question of the briefing. Franco Ordoñez of the taxpayer-funded National Public Radio (NPR) thought this softball was a real question: “Republicans repeatedly seek to paint the administration as being unable to secure the border. I wanted to ask: Do you see this as a test? Does the administration see this as a test or possibly an opportunity to show the American people that the administration does have the ability to manage the border under difficult circumstances?”



Mayorkas’s answer was brief, but it’s certain he was appreciative for it: “We — we view this as a challenge, a challenge that we will meet.”


Best — Jacqui Time Blasts Mayorkas Over Leaked Plans for ‘Mass Releases’ of Illegals

Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich battled Mayorkas over leaked documents (obtained exclusively by our friend Jennie Taer at the Daily Caller News Foundation) that detailed plans by DHS to mass release illegal immigrants in the event of overcrowding.

Heinrich first called Mayorkas on the carpet to explain how that wouldn’t be “an honor system” seeing as how those released “don’t get an alien registration number that would be used to track them” or “a court date,” but “instead asked to self-report to ICE within 60 days.”

Mayorkas insisted “it is not an honor system” but rather “us[ing] the resources that we have” with mass releases “a tool...used in the past” while “[t]he vast majority of individuals” detained “will be...placed in expedited removal.” Of course, he left out the whole disappearing part with no way to track them.

Heinrich naturally wasn’t sold and hammered away (click “expand”):

HEINRICH: You said that it would be a fraction of migrants that this happens with.  How many is a fraction when you’ve had almost six million illegal crossings under this administration?

MAYORKAS: We, last year, removed, returned, and expelled approximately 1.4 million individuals. That is the most in any one year.

HEINRICH: Will you be on shaky legal ground though with mass releases?

MAYORKAS: Well, first of all —

HEINRICH: Or will this be on a case-by-case basis?

MAYORKAS: First of all, your — your question has a factual predicate with which I would disagree about mass releases, number one. But releases of individuals subject to immigration enforcement proceedings is not something particular to this administration.

HEINRICH: It’s supposed to be on a case-by-case —

JEAN-PIERRE:  We got to keep — we got to —

HEINRICH: — basis, and this would not be on a case-by-case basis.

MAYORKAS:  We — we implement our operations in conjunction with the Department of Justice, and we have confidence in the lawfulness of our actions.


Best — CBN Reporter to KJP: How Does Biden Back Border Patrol Amid 36 Suicides in Three Years?

Christian Broadcasting Network’s Abigail Robertson didn’t make it into the Mayorkas portion, so she snuck in her border-related question to Jean-Pierre: “[M]orale amongst Border Patrol agents is low. They’ve been through a lot...[A]ccording to the Acting Deputy Commissioner of the CBP, 36 agents died by suicide in the last three years alone. So, what is President Biden doing to show America’s frontline police that he hears them and that he cares about the unprecedented issues they’re facing?”



Jean-Pierre began by stating the administration’s “hearts go out to those families of — of those law enforcement members who, as you just stated, took their lives,” but ghoulishly sought to blame Republicans by claiming they want to defund Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and should instead support the true champion of CBP and law enforcement: Joe Biden.


Worst — Brazilian Reporter Charges Biden WH With ‘Finishing Trump’s Job’ on Border

Globo News’s Raquel Krähenbühl chimed in during the second half with a probe from the left. First acknowledging the right’s issues with the administration’s border policies, she told Mayorkas that “some Democrats are saying that President Biden broke his promise of having a more humane immigration system and that he is finishing Trump’s job.”

“So, I ask you: How is it more humane to expel people and penalize them, people who are fleeing violence and poverty? You were just saying that the number of the deportation was the highest last year of any year,” she added.

Mayorkas took particular offense by insisting “[w]e stand markedly different than the prior administration” and “do not resemble it at all.”


Best — Wegmann: ‘How’ Is ‘The Border...Not Open’ With 530,000 ‘Gotaways’ Since October?

Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann brought a fact-check to the table by asking Mayorkas to explain “how can you say that the border is not open” given the fact that, “going back to October of last year, there were more than a million apprehensions, but then there were also more than 530,000 “gotaways,’” which works out to “roughly...the population...of Baltimore.”

Mayorkas wouldn’t answer aside from telling Wegmann to “ask those 1.4 million people” that were “removed, returned, and expelled...if they think the border is open.”


Worst — NBC, VOA Reporters Tie U.S. Sanctions to Illegal Immigration

A little over an hour after his colleague Andrea Mitchell blamed the border crisis on U.S. sanctions against communist Cuba, NBC’s Peter Alexander unsuccessfully tried the same tact with Mayorkas: 

If I could follow up on a foreign policy question, though, very broadly — just quickly. The U.S. sanctions — the U.S. has sanctions right now on a series of foreign nations: on Cuba, on Venezuela, on Nicaragua. So, does the Biden administration’s foreign policy make this situation worse?

Voice of America’s Patsy Widakuswara followed up a few minutes later: “I’m going to try to ask Peter’s question a different way. With some Democrats urging that President Biden end sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela, do you support that?”


Best — FBN Brings Heat With Simple Question: How Much Are Illegals Costing Us?

Fox Business Network’s Edward Lawrence had a question that is and has been on the mind of Americans during surge after surge of illegal immigration: How much is the influx of illegal immigrants costing taxpayers?

“[Y]ou talked about cost. What’s the rough cost to American taxpayers since the roughly 4 million people have come into this country illegally, since January of 2021? As those people show up in community hospitals, as they enter the school system, as they get other government help — do you have a taxpayer cost,” he asked.




Mayorkas completely ignored it, saying he was once asked about “the economic cost of” America’s “broken immigration system” by “an international partner” and, in that case, he cited how “businesses around this country that are desperate for workers”.

Lawrence tried again, but Mayorkas hilariously interjected, “I — I believe I have addressed your question.”


Best — WashTimes Sends Mayorkas Off With Another Basic Question (He Ignored It)

The Washington Times’s Jeff Mordock ended up with the last question of Mayorkas’s turn and, like Lawrence, he had a basic question Mayorkas ignored with vague aspersions about “surg[ing] resources” to the border: 

I was just wondering if you could put some specifics on this plan. Let’s say Border Patrol catches 10,000 migrants tomorrow. Of those, how many are going to be detained?  How many will be caught and released? And how many will be removed and returned within 72 hours?