Rep. Greg Stanton pressed Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on the Administration’s Title 42 contingency memorandum, released just 48 hours ago, during a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing today.

After delivering his assessment of Mayorkas’s memo, Stanton pointed to the strain placed on local governments in Arizona, including Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport employees being pulled away from other airport operations to help hundreds of migrants who have been dropped off at the airport without any travel plans every day since January.

Sky Harbor staff and volunteers have used their own money to purchase shoes, shoelaces and belts and donated diapers and baby wipes because many migrants do not have basic necessities, and have not received them from the federal government or already-overwhelmed nonprofits.

“Putting more pressure on a system that can’t handle it carries a significant risk of creating a full-scale humanitarian crisis on American soil for which the White House and your Department will be solely responsible,” Stanton said to Mayorkas.

At some point, Title 42 restrictions will be lifted—but Stanton has repeatedly pressed the Administration to put forth a comprehensive, coordinated plan before doing so. The second-term lawmaker said that an effective plan must be made through consulting and coordinating with Arizona law enforcement, communities, and non-governmental organizations.

Stanton and a group of bipartisan lawmakers introduced legislation earlier this month to force the Administration to put together a plan to handle the expected increased spring and summer traffic before lifting the order. Last week, he urged President Biden to delay rescinding Title 42 measures until the Department of Homeland Security has a workable plan to handle the expected significant increase in border traffic. The letter is available HERE.

Stanton’s remarks this morning were delivered as follows:

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Secretary Mayorkas, I represent the border state of Arizona. And as a former state Deputy Attorney General and a long-time elected official in that state, I understand the border and its complexities very well. And so do Arizonans. We know that being a border state is helpful to our economy. We understand that immigrants make us stronger . . . which is why most Arizonans support modernizing our nation’s immigration system with a pathway to citizenship.

But we also know that our border must be secure. And that if it isn’t secure, there are real consequences that Arizonans pay the price for. Opioids and other drugs can come across and wreak havoc on our communities. Cartels and traffickers can extort and smuggle migrants in abhorrent conditions across our dangerous deserts, sometimes killing them. And when the federal government is overwhelmed, it passes the buck and places an incredible burden on local law enforcement on local communities and on our nonprofits.

I paid careful attention to your testimony yesterday, Mr. Secretary—as well as this morning. I agree with you that the Trump Administration got border policy wrong. Their approach was inhumane, ineffective, and harmed the federal government’s long-term ability to process migrants through the system.

You are also right that migration issues are not unique to the United States—increased migration is a worldwide crisis in which human tragedy in the developing world is putting pressure on countries like ours.

This Administration did not create the problem, but managing it effectively is your responsibility.

And what was outlined in the memo you released on Tuesday—just in time for these hearings—is not at all sufficient to handle what will come our way once Title 42 restrictions are lifted.

Those on the ground in Arizona know that the entire chain—starting with the Border Patrol and ICE to local law enforcement, nonprofit refugee centers and even our international airport in Phoenix—is already overwhelmed.

Just yesterday, I met with an Arizona mayor who has been seeking assistance from DHS for months so that his community can be prepared to deliver services. He told me that, today, they’re processing about 300 migrants per day through a local nonprofit. But that they’ve been told by federal law enforcement to expect that number to jump to 1,000 per day by this summer. They’ve been telling your Department that they’re not ready.

And when migrants can’t get help at a nonprofit, where will they go, Mr. Secretary? Putting more pressure on a system that can’t handle it carries a significant risk of creating a full-scale humanitarian crisis on American soil for which the White House and your Department will be solely responsible. No person who cares about migrants should want that.

It's clear to me that the federal government is not prepared. Not even close.

One example: Your memo acknowledges that even with Title 42 restrictions in place, Customs and Border Patrol was so overwhelmed just two months ago that it had to increase its the number of agents deployed along the Southwest Border by more than six hundred. You’ve proposed adding a few hundred more.

But Mr. Secretary, no thinking person believes that modest staffing improvements will put the federal government in position to handle triple the number of crossings. Not a chance.

I have a long list of questions for you and I know I won’t get to all of them in this hearing—so I’ll be following up in writing. But let me get through as many as possible.

The Phoenix Sky Harbor airport is one of the busiest in America. And since January, airport staff has been even busier taking on duties they shouldn’t be asked to – assisting migrants in making travel plans. Leaders at the airport have told me that up-to-600 migrants, who have been released from CBP and ICE custody, are dropped at the airport every day, at the busiest times of the day, and many are not ready to travel. And many are high risk – with health concerns and few resources. Airport staff has sprung into action: They’re setting up phone banks, providing translation services, and many are even donating clothing and food; they’re making trips to the store to purchase belts and shoes and shoelaces with their personal funds; and they’re delivering diapers and formula to mothers and infants. But airport staff is maxed out – and with an expected surge this summer, there will come a breaking point.

DHS needs to provide additional support to its nonprofit partners to ensure that all migrants arriving at transportation hubs like Sky Harbor are better prepared to travel. Mr. Secretary, will you commit to getting your partners the resources they need?

Video of his questioning is available HERE.