DHS Secretary Mayorkas Defiant in Congressional Hearing
FAIR Take | July 2023
Last Wednesday, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas appeared once again before the House Judiciary Committee for an oversight hearing. The hearing focused on the operational failures of DHS, the border crisis, and the lack of immigration enforcement under Secretary Mayorkas.
Before the hearing, Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) advised Mayorkas in a letter to be prepared to answer questions on several policies and data points. Those issues included:
- All policies and data related to encounters, gotaways, paroles, and releases at the southern border since January 20, 2021
- All policies and data regarding arrests, removals, releases, and detentions since January 20, 2021
- All policies and data regarding the Department’s adjudication of immigration benefits since January 20, 2021
Despite notifying Mayorkas in advance, the secretary was unprepared to provide the requested data or to answer questions related to the Biden Administration’s handling of the border crisis. He did not know the number of illegal aliens who have been removed from the country over the past two years, the current status of the 140 apprehended aliens who are on the terrorist watchlist, or the status of the 14,000 drug smugglers arrested at the border this year. Secretary Mayorkas even said he disagreed with the DHS Inspector General’s report that his department had released a suspect on the terrorist watchlist.
In his testimony, Mayorkas continued to argue that DHS was taking efforts to reduce illegal immigration and that the border was not open. At the same time, however, he acknowledged that “we have led the largest expansion of lawful, safe, and orderly pathways for people to come to the United States in decades.” He was likewise positive about the Shelter and Services Program under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “awarding more than $290 million to 34 non-federal entities for temporary shelter and other eligible expenditures for migrants.”
Frustrated with the lack of cooperation and transparency, several members called on Secretary Mayorkas to resign. Defiant, Mayorkas responded to a question about resigning by stating, “No, I will not. I am incredibly proud of the work that is performed in the Department of Homeland Security.”
In March, Mayorkas appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a similar oversight hearing. In that hearing, he clashed with senators over fentanyl trafficking and claimed not to recognize the wristbands commonly used by cartels to identify victims of human smuggling and trafficking. That same week, he appeared in front of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to testify regarding President Biden’s fiscal year 2024 budget proposal. In the House that week, while claiming the border is secure, he also acknowledged that DHS is paying to store construction materials for the border wall instead of building the wall.
Mayorkas’ latest appearance before Congress comes with the House Homeland Security Committee entering phase three of its investigation of him for dereliction of duty. That investigation continued with a Homeland subcommittee hearing last week focusing on the tragic human cost in lives lost to violence and drug overdoses due to the Biden Administration’s open-borders policies.