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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The U.S. is on-pace to encounter more people at the U.S.-Mexico border "than we have in the last 20 years," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas wrote in a lengthy statement on Tuesday.

The big picture: The scale of the arrivals represents a budding crisis for President Biden. Mayorkas acknowledged that the arrival of the migrants, including unaccompanied children, at the Southwest border is "difficult," but added that the administration is "making progress and we are executing on our plan."

  • "This is not new," Mayorkas wrote. "We have experienced migration surges before — in 2019, 2014, and before then as well. Since April 2020, the number of encounters at the southwest border has been steadily increasing."

The statement comes as Republicans have criticized the Biden administration for refusing to call the surge a "crisis." Axios previously reported that Biden was briefed on the need for 20,000 additional beds to shelter the children expected to arrive at the border.

Mayorkas noted that Biden has reversed the Trump administration's policy of turning away unaccompanied children because of the public health emergency brought on by the pandemic, and acknowledged that the coronavirus has made it more difficult to house the children.

  • The administration is also bringing in additional personnel to supervise and care for the children, as well as adding facilities to house them in Texas and Arizona, the secretary said.
  • The administration also restarted a program that provides a "lawful pathway for children to come to the United States without having to take the dangerous journey," and is looking for more legal pathways that would not require children to leave their country before being admitted.

What he's saying: "Poverty, high levels of violence, and corruption in Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries have propelled migration to our southwest border for years," Mayorkas said.

  • "The adverse conditions have continued to deteriorate. Two damaging hurricanes that hit Honduras and swept through the region made the living conditions there even worse, causing more children and families to flee."

Go deeper: Why migrants are fleeing their homes for the U.S.

Go deeper

Several states declare emergency over Colonial Pipeline shutdown

A sign warns consumers on the avaliability of gasoline at a RaceTrac gas station in Smyrna, Georgia, on May 11. The average national price of gasoline has risen to $2.985 a gallon, Bloomberg notes. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Reports of fuel shortages across the U.S. emerged on Tuesday as the national average for gasoline prices soared to its highest level since 2014 amid a key fuel pipeline shut down, per Bloomberg.

What's happening: Operator Colonial Pipeline aims to have service restored by the week's end following last Friday's ransomware attack that shut down some 5,500 miles of pipeline from Texas to New Jersey. The governors of Florida, Georgia, Virginia and North Carolina declared states of emergency Tuesday due to shortage concerns.

Reports: More than 100 Republicans threaten to form 3rd party over Trump

Former President Trump addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, in February. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

More than 100 Republicans will sign a letter Thursday threatening to create a third party if the GOP doesn't "break" with former President Trump, Reuters first reported.

Why it matters: Per Axios' Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, Trump's grip on the GOP has gotten stronger since the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The Republican Party's "allegiance to Trump" as he continues to make false claims about his 2020 election loss has "dismayed" the group, according to Reuters.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

In photos: Dozens dead as Israel and Hamas intensify aerial bombardments

People gather at the site of a collapsed building in the aftermath of Israeli air strikes on Gaza City on May 11. Photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images

At least 35 Palestinians and five Israelis have been killed as fighting between Israel's military and Hamas entered a third day, per Reuters.

The big picture: The worst aerial exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas since 2014 come after escalating violence in Jerusalem that injured hundreds of Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.