Mayorkas’ Claim That We Have “Operational Control” Over Our Borders Is Laughably Absurd
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has a long track record of brazenly and arrogantly playing semantic games with the American people and their elected representatives. However, during an April 28 Department of Homeland Security oversight hearing before the House Committee on the Judiciary he made a particularly egregious claim suggesting, against all obvious evidence to the contrary, that we have “operational control” over the southern border.
During one of the key moments of the hearing, Sec. Mayorkas was pressed by Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) on whether the Biden administration has operational control over the border. The exchange went as follows:
Mr. Roy: The only plan that you offer (…) is to process aliens faster [and] encourage more to come. We know that to be true, I know it’s true, you know it’s true, cartels know it’s true, and people around the world know it’s true, and that’s why people are coming.
Mr. Mayorkas: That is false.
Mr. Roy: That’s not false. The entirety of your plan says that. The Secure Fence Act says what? That “the Secretary of Homeland Security shall [Rep. Roy’s emphasis] take all actions the Secretary determines necessary and appropriate to achieve and maintain operational control over the entire international land and maritime borders.” Will you testify under oath right now: do we have operational control, yes of no?
Mr. Mayorkas: Yes, we do.
Mr. Roy: We have operational control of the borders?!
Mr. Mayorkas: Yes, we do, and Congressman … We are working …
Rep. Roy then proceeded to remind Sec. Mayorkas that the Secure Fence Act of 2006 defines operational control as “the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband.”
Mayorkas responded that he stands by his statement, adding – with a smirk – that “I think the Secretary of Homeland Security would have said the same thing in 2020, and in 2019.”
The Texas congressman was having none of it, however: “The Secretary would have at least had a basis for saying that we have some sort of control of the border, but the fact is that we currently have people flowing across the border, including dangerous narcotics and dangerous members of terrorists [sic – terrorist organizations], which your own agency sent a letter to my office after eight months saying there are 42 people who are on the terror watchlist in the United States, which you just said to Mr. Jordan you don’t even know where the hell they are. That’s what you’re saying is operational control?!”
Whether one goes by the common-sense definition of operational control as spelled out in the law – or some looser conceptualization of it preferred by the pro-mass-migration crowd – Sec. Mayorkas’ repeated assertion is beyond absurd. That is unless one considers the following as characteristics of operational control:
- Record-breaking historic apprehensions, with more than 1.7 million “encounters” in FY2021 and more than 1 million in just the first half of FY2022.
- Sharply increased numbers of “got-aways,” i.e., illegal border crossers who managed to avoid detection, all too many of whom are likely criminals.
- The drowning death of Texas National Guard Specialist Bishop E. Evans who attempted to save the lives of two migrants, who turned out be drug smugglers.
- Border Patrol agents admitting that they are “overwhelmed,” which is leaving swaths of the border unpatrolled.
- The expectation that apprehensions will reach 18,000 per day once the Biden administration goes through with its plan to end Title 42 expulsions.
If that’s operational control, what would a loss of operational control look like?