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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified Thursday that there were more than 389,000 “gotaways” at the U.S.-Mexico border in Fiscal Year 2021.
The disclosed figure came during an intense back-and-forth between Mayorkas and Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., during his testimony at an oversight hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.
Spartz grilled Mayorkas for specific numbers, asking how many people have crossed the border “completely undetected.”
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Mayorkas said in FY 2021 – October 2020 to September 2021 – there were 389,155 “gotaways,” which refers to migrants who were not apprehended or turned themselves in and those who got past border agents.
Multiple U.S. Customers and Border Protection sources have told Fox News that there have already been more than 300,000 known getaways in FY 2022, which began October 1, 2021.
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Mayorkas’ exchange with Spartz was one of the multiple contentious interactions with members of Congress during his testimony.
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., compared Mayorkas to traitor Benedict Arnold, asking him if he was ashamed of his service to the country.
Rep. Jim Jordam, R-Ohio, grilled Mayoras on whether 42 illegal immigrants on the terror watch list have been released into the U.S.
Mayorkas’ testimony comes amid the Biden administration’s anticipation of an increase in already high numbers of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border from the lifting of Title 42, a public health order that prevents people from seeking asylum.
On Wednesday, a federal judge in Louisiana granted a temporary restraining order at the request of Republicans to block the end of Title 42.
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Still, the decision is only a temporary setback for the Bide administration. Republicans and centrist Democrats are calling on the president to have a more robust plan in place to address the reality on the ground when the policy is rescinded.
Fox News’ Bill Melugin and Emma Colton contributed to this report.