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White supremacists pose the biggest terror threat to the United States, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Friday amid a surge of illegal border crossings.
The Department of Homeland Security has assessed that “the greatest terrorism-related threat that we face in the homeland is the threat of domestic violent extremism,” Mayorkas said.
Citing an “increase in hate” that’s spread on social media and other online platforms, Mayorkas further specified that “the most prominent threat is the threat of White supremacists.”
Mayorkas made the remarks during a speech at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network conference in New York City. The secretary pointed to the “repeated and persistent bomb threats” against Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in recent months as an example of the threats and talked of his recent work with Black universities and churches to improve security.
Both Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland previously said White supremacist extremists represent the most persistent and lethal threat to the homeland when they testified before the Senate last May. Mentioning the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol, Mayorkas and Garland said their agencies would dedicate more resources to fight against domestic terrorism, create new intelligence initiatives and work with foreign partners and tech companies to help stem the growing threat, the Washington Post reported at the time.
Mayorkas’ threat assessment comes at a time of historically high illegal border crossings.
There were more than 1.7 million migrant encounters in FY 2021, and FY 2022 is on pace to exceed that, with what is expected to be more than 1 million encounters in the first six months of the fiscal year alone.
Border agents will lose another tool in May when the Biden Administration ends the Title 42 public health order that has been used since March 2020 to quickly expel a majority of migrants at the border due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayorkas reaffirmed Friday that Title 42 is going away, and migrants will be able to claim asylum.
“Our asylum laws provide that if one qualifies, one can access residency in the United States,” Mayorkas said. “And if one does not, one can be removed. In the time of the pandemic, we have been exercising Title 42.
“It is a public health imperative, not an immigration policy. … Title 42 will end on May 23 as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expressed, and then we will be implementing our asylum process as it was designed.”
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.