Republican Investigating DHS Secretary for Alleged Dereliction of Duty

Michael Clements
By Michael Clements
June 15, 2023Politics
Republican Investigating DHS Secretary for Alleged Dereliction of Duty
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during a hearing with the Senate Homeland Security Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington on April 18, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and immigration officials say the Biden administration must be held accountable for the debacle on the U.S. southern border, and accountability starts with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

“In all candor, the Biden Administration is the first administration of either political party to actively take steps to diminish the security along our southern border,” Chad Wolf, Chair of the Center for Homeland Security, wrote in testimony he presented to the House Committee on Homeland Security oversight hearing on June 14.

Wolf and other witnesses testified that human trafficking, drug smuggling, and violence are out of control because law enforcement agents tasked with securing the border are busy processing and caring for illegal immigrants.

On June 7, Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) announced that he had introduced a bill for articles of impeachment against Mayorkas. The House has not acted on Higgins’ bill.

“Secretary Mayorkas has long ago crossed that threshold. I prepared the foundational posit of these articles long ago, yet I’ve been prayerful that impeachment might not be required. I’ve given him fair warning to resign his position. Now, he shall reap what he hath sown,” Higgins wrote in a statement announcing the bill.

The Committee has begun an investigation of Mayorkas.

Democrats countered the Republicans’ claims by saying that encounters at the border are down. They said the real issue is partisan politics.

January 6 hearing
Chairman and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) arrives for a hearing on “the January 6th Investigation” on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 12, 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

“It’s obvious this hearing isn’t about oversight. It’s about partisan politics,” said Ranking Member Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.)

Wolf testified on June 14 as the Committee began investigating Mayorkas for dereliction of duty. Wolf and other witnesses said Mayorkas has intentionally violated the law to implement an “open borders” policy favored by the Biden administration.

They allege Mayorkas used improper asylum policies and abused the parole process to release millions of illegal aliens into the United States. These actions told the world that the United States was no longer enforcing its immigration laws, they claimed.

“This isn’t about politics or policy disagreements; it’s about law and order,” said Committee Chairman Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.)

Republicans charge that Mayorkas and the Biden administration are using broad language and vague policies to circumvent the law. They say Mayorkas’ tenure has been disastrous.

In his written testimony, Wolf listed policies he blamed for the situation at the border.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf speaks during a press conference in Washington, on July 21, 2020. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Wolf said the Biden administration ended Trump era remain-in-Mexico and detention policies. Under those rules, immigrants who sought asylum were required to wait outside the country until their cases could be heard. Now, illegal immigrants can request asylum via the CBP One smartphone app. The app was initially designed to promote commerce with other countries.

According to Republicans, the policy now provides so many exceptions that there is no need to use the app. They said if a person claims they don’t have a phone, couldn’t get cell service, or didn’t understand English, they can still apply for asylum when they get to the United States with no requirement to remain outside the country.

Illegal aliens seeking asylum are given a Notice to Report date and released. Republicans said this catch-and-release policy has only one effect.

“They are released and told to appear, then they disappear,” said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas).

McCaul said that 85 percent of asylum claims are fraudulent. He said fraudulently claiming asylum is a common strategy used by Mexican drug cartels for getting people across the border.

Rep. Michael McCaul
Rep. Michael McCaul speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 10, 2021. (Ken Cedeno/Pool/Getty Images)

“Political asylum is always the magnet, and it’s been abused by the cartels for years,” McCaul said.

But the issue isn’t as simple as that, a human rights activist testified. Eleanor Acer is Director of Refugee Protection for Human Rights Now. She said many illegal immigrants were victimized while waiting in Mexico to have their asylum applications heard.

Acer said what is happening at the southern border is not unique to the United States. In response to questions from Thompson, Acer said Mayorkas did not cause the problems.

“The crisis we’re facing is a humanitarian one, and it’s global,” she said.

Wolf was especially critical of the DHS parole policy. He said the law limits parole to specific circumstances and must be considered case-by-case. According to his written testimony, the law states that if an immigrant has a medical emergency, needs to contact a sponsor, is in danger, or has some other extenuating circumstance, immigration officials can allow them into the country.

Migrants from Central and South America take part in a caravan attempting to reach the U.S.–Mexico border on April 23, 2023. (Stringer/AFP via Getty Images)

Prior administrations have granted parole to some groups because of extraordinary political situations in their home countries. But, Mayorkas has approved policies that allow parole for entire populations as an expedient method of processing them, the witnesses testified.

The liberal use of parole and the CBP One App have enabled the administration to juggle the numbers and make it appear the situation is not as dire as it is, the Republicans claimed.

According to Green, Biden set the stage for the crisis on his first day in office. Green said the president signed a series of executive orders doing away with several policies that the Trump administration had instituted that helped keep the situation at the southern border more manageable than it is now.

Green said Biden’s agenda has “turned every city into a border city and every state into a border state.”

Since Biden took office, there have been 5.5 million apprehensions out of more than 6 million at the border, according to Green. There have also been 1.5 million known gotaways. These are people who were able to escape into the United States and cannot be accounted for. Witnesses said it is estimated there are at least that many unknown gotaways.

NTD Photo
A resident ponders a point made during a hearing of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on the southern border crisis in Yuma, Ariz., on Feb. 23, 2023. (Allan Stein/The Epoch Times)

Green said ending the remain in Mexico and Title 42 policies, along with background checks on immigrant sponsors in the United States, has had detrimental effects on the country and immigrants.

Large sections of the border are now controlled by Mexican drug cartels, which has increased human trafficking, drug smuggling, and violence at the border, he said.

Green said he had heard reports that among criminals crossing the border are people on the terror watch list and Chinese nationals with ties to the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army.

During the hearing, Wolf was the target of Democrats critical of his stint as acting DHS Secretary in 2021. They took issue with his accusations against Mayorkas because a judge found that Wolf served as DHS Secretary illegally.  They also alleged that Wolf refused to comply with a Congressional subpoena to testify before Congress in September 2020 in a hearing on threats to the homeland.

“And yet we’re going to be lectured by the majority about the current lawfully serving, Senate-confirmed Secretary,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.).

Wolf denied that his appointment as acting DHS Secretary was illegal and vehemently argued that he did not refuse to comply with the subpoena. He said he tried unsuccessfully to arrange a date to testify. He said he was not allowed because he had been appointed acting DHS Secretary.

From The Epoch Times

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