Mayorkas Rejects GOP Criticism, Says Border Policies Are ‘Working’

Samantha Flom
By Samantha Flom
July 26, 2023Congress

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas rejected criticism of his leadership Wednesday, telling members of Congress that his management of the United States’ southwest border has been a success.

“Our approach to managing the border securely and humanely—even within our fundamentally broken immigration system—is working,” he declared at a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

Touting the Biden administration’s expansion of legal pathways for entry, the secretary added, “Unlawful entries between ports of entry along the southwest border have consistently decreased by more than half compared to the peak before the end of Title 42.”

Title 42, a policy that allowed for the broad expulsion of illegal entrants during the COVID-19 pandemic, expired in May.

The number of migrants who have illegally entered the United States under the Biden administration totals more than 5.5 million, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Nonetheless, Mr. Mayorkas held that the criticism his department has received over its management of the U.S.-Mexico border is undeserved.

“The DHS workforce [performs their jobs] with honor, integrity, and the resolve to safeguard our people, our homeland, and our values,” he said. “They perform bravely despite public attacks on their character and service, despite unfair and inadequate pay, and despite, as frontline agents repeatedly tell me, threats made against them and their families. These public servants deserve better.”

Calls for Mr. Mayorkas’ removal have increased in recent months amid the continued crisis at the southern border.

In May, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-Ga.) became the third Republican to introduce articles of impeachment against him, charging that he had “aided and abetted the complete invasion of our country by deliberately flooding our nation with drugs, terrorists, and illegal aliens.”

Others have also floated defunding the official’s salary, and on Wednesday, Republicans were no less critical.

Quick to counter Mr. Mayorkas’ claims, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) noted that the expanded legal pathways to entry that the secretary mentioned had not decreased the influx of people at the border.

“You announced the CBP One app this year allows migrants to bypass the southern border and enter directly in the United States’ ports of entry,” the congressman said. “This program that began with up to 1,000 illegal migrants has been ramped up to as many as 1,500 a day. That’s more than 540,000. That’s the population equivalent of adding a new state of Wyoming every single year.”

And while the secretary responded by assuring the congressman that the safety and security of the American people was his “highest priority,” Mr. McClintock was unconvinced.

“Obviously, it is not your highest priority. The numbers speak for themselves.”

Meanwhile, in his opening remarks, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) slammed the administration’s handling of the border.

“We know that this administration repeatedly violates the law under the guise of instituting safe, orderly, and humane policies. But nothing about the Biden administration’s policy is safe, orderly, or humane,” he asserted.

Noting that border encounters totaled around 145,000 in June alone, the chairman said: “Only this administration and my Democratic colleagues would call it a success when monthly encounter numbers are near 150,000. In fact … there have now been 29 straight months—29 months in a row—with more than 100,000 illegal encounters on our borders.”

Mr. Jordan further charged that the secretary had “completely failed” in his duties.

However, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the committee’s ranking Democrat, voiced a different opinion.

“The reality is Secretary Mayorkas is aggressively enforcing our immigration laws,” he held, noting that a federal judge blocked one of the administration’s new asylum policies on Tuesday for being too restrictive.

Also pointing to the recent downturn in reported apprehensions at the border, Mr. Nadler added, “No matter what you think of these policies, they appear to be working.”

From The Epoch Times

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