© Kevin Lamarque/ReutersDepartment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas
The Department of Homeland Security admitted "above 85%" of migrants apprehended at the southern border are being released into the United States, according to a report from Fox News.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made the admission during a private meeting with border agents at the overrun Eagle Pass crossing in Texas on Monday, according to three people who were in the room.

The Del Rio sector where Eagle Pass lies saw more than 81,000 migrants hand themselves over seeking a new life in the US in October and November.

The siege on the border has only increased since then, with a monthly record 302,000 migrants encountered, according to ABC sources, most of whom are being waved into the country.

Those arriving are no longer just those fleeing the poverty, political instability and gang violence in Central America, but migrants from China, Turkey, Afghanistan and all across Africa arrive to claim their place on US soil.

Mayorkas โ€” who is facing an impeachment hearing from House Republicans over his handling of the migrant crisis โ€” was pressed during the meeting by the agents over an interview he gave Fox last week in which he said "it would not surprise me at all" if the release numbers were greater than 70%.
migrants mexico us border january 2024
© Associated PressA band of hundreds of migrants marching through Mexico to the southern United States border on Monday, January 8 2024.
Agents did not believe the release rate was that low, according to the sources, and Mayorkas eventually conceded they were currently over 85%.

Once migrants are admitted to the US to pursue their asylum claims they have to regularly check in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

That agency said in its annual report last week they are currently managing 6.2 million people in the country, a figure which has almost doubled since 2020 when they were looking after 3.3 million active cases.

Despite his private admission, at an Eagle Pass press conference later in the day Mayorkas touted the DHS' efforts expelling illegal immigrants from the country.

"In fact, the majority of all Southwest Border migrant encounters throughout this Administration have been removed, returned, or expelled - the majority of them," Mayorkas said.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas admitted over 85% of migrants are being let in to the United States. AP

"We are doing everything we can, within a broken system, to incentivize noncitizens to use lawful pathways, to impose consequences on those who do not, and to reduce irregular migration."

Recent Customs and Border Protection figures from the first two months of the fiscal year showed that more than 70% of migrants encountered at the southern border were paroled and allowed into the country.

In October, nearly 237,000 were encountered, of which nearly 170,000 โ€” 71% โ€” were permitted into the country.

November saw similar numbers โ€” about 238,000 encountered โ€” with about 177,000 or 74% being granted access to the US.

December's numbers have not yet been released, but Mayorkas' statements suggest they will be higher than the previous two months.

Last week, the DHS secretary disclosed during the same Fox interview "well more than a million" migrants were being allowed into the US on an annual basis.

He argued that the fault for the migrant crisis does not lie with the Biden administration, but can only be fixed if Congress passes sweeping immigration reform.

"What is a magnet is the fact that the time in between an encounter of an individual at the border and their final ruling in their immigration case can sometimes take six or more years," he said.

Republican members Congress disagree, and have placed the blame for the record numbers of migrants who have arrived and been let into the country over the past three years directly on the Biden administration.

Last May the administration said it would get tough and only allow those who make appointments through an app and wait their turn would get the opportunity to plead their asylum cases to officers and be allowed into the US. Those people โ€” 45,000 a month โ€” are allowed into the country through the Office of Field Operations.

However, they are vastly outnumbered by those who cross the border illegally and hand themselves over to border. Under the administration's current instructions officers detain, interview and evaluate each of them. They are then issued a court date and allowed into the country legally, where they can apply for a work permit and asylum, or rejected and sent home. Statistics from the Department of Homeland Security show in the vast majority of instances, the former is the case.

Mayoraks' first impeachment hearing โ€” which the GOP-led House Committee on Homeland Security called over his "failed leadership and his refusal to enforce" immigration law โ€” is scheduled for Wednesday.