* Served as Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from 2009-13
* Was Deputy Secretary of DHS from 2013-16 under President Obama
* Helped implement Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals during the Obama Administration
* Was confirmed as President Biden’s DHS Secretary on February 2, 2021
* Oversaw record-high influx of illegal aliens as DHS Secretary
Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas was born on November 24, 1959, in Havana, Cuba. His mother, Anita Gabor, was a Romanian-born Jew who escaped the Holocaust. The Mayorkas family fled Cuba shortly after that nation’s government was overthrown by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, and they migrated to the United States as refugees in 1960.
Mayorkas earned a bachelor’s degree with distinction from UC Berkeley in 1981, and a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School in 1985. After completing his formal schooling, he worked for three years as a litigation associate in private practice.
In 1989 Mayorkas began a nine-year stint as an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, where he specialized in the prosecution of white-collar crimes such as tax evasion and money laundering. From 1996-98, Mayorkas served as chief of the General Crimes Section of his AUSA office. He also spent some time as the coordinator of the Southern California Telemarketing Fraud Task Force.
In September 2001, Mayorkas left government and became a litigation partner at the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers.
In November 2008, President-elect Barack Obama selected Mayorkas to lead the presidential transition team responsible for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division.
In the Obama administration, Mayorkas served as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) from 2009 to 2013, and then as deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from 2013 to 2016.
During his tenure in Obama’s DHS, Mayorkas played a big role in implementing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that allowed illegal aliens who had been brought to the U.S. as minors, to stay in the country for the time being. He also negotiated cybersecurity and homeland security agreements with foreign governments; led the Department’s response to the Ebola (2013-14) and Zika (2015-16) virus epidemics; helped create and run the Blue Campaign to combat human trafficking; developed an emergency relief program for orphaned youth after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti; and created the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate.
Mayorkas again left government after Democrat Barack Obama’s tenure as president was over. From October 2017 to November 2020, Mayorkas worked in the Washington office of the Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr law firm.
On November 23, 2020, President-elect Joe Biden nominated Mayorkas as secretary of DHS.
Mayorkas was one of the first of Biden’s cabinet nominees to encounter significant opposition from Republican senators, The Hill newspaper reported. Senator John Cornyn, for instance, wanted Mayorkas to go through a second confirmation hearing before the Judiciary Committee, and Senator Josh Hawley put a hold on Mayorkas’ nomination because: (a) he felt that Mayorkas was likely to back Biden’s move to delay or derail any further construction of the border wall, and (b) he said that Mayorkas had not “adequately explained how he will enforce federal law and secure the southern border.”
Some Republicans also expressed concern about a 2015 Inspector General (IG) report that determined that during Mayorkas’ tenure as CIS director, he had inserted himself into the evaluation process in EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program cases that, if approved, would specifically benefit Chinese nationals who had ties to Democrats. As Vox.com explained in March 2015: “In each of the four incidents the [IG] report looked at, Mayorkas did slightly different things to urge colleagues to reconsider decisions they’d made — after being in contact with powerful Democrats affiliated with the projects. The report names four men as beneficiaries of Mayorkas’s attention: Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell; Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid; Hillary Clinton‘s brother, Anthony Rodham; and current Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.” Republican Senator Tom Cotton told Fox & Friends that Mayorkas “was found by Barack Obama’s Inspector General to be guilty of selling green cards [through EB-5] to Chinese nationals on behalf of rich Democratic donors.” “Think about that,” Cotton added. “Selling citizenship to well-connected Chinese nationals on behalf of Democratic Party donors. That is disqualifying to lead the Department of Homeland Security.”
On February 2, 2021, Mayorkas was confirmed by the Senate on a 56–43 vote. That same day, he was sworn in to office by Vice President Kamala Harris, thus becoming the first Latino and the first immigrant ever to serve as DHS secretary.
At a March 1, 2021 press conference at the White House, Mayorkas emphasized his intent to deal with the many Central American migrants who in 2018 had brought their children to the United States in an effort to exploit the so-called Flores loophole in American immigration law — a loophole that required U.S. immigration authorities to release—within 20 days—all children apprehended while crossing the border illegally, whether or not they were accompanied by an adult. Breitbart.com explains how that requirement eventually led to the long-term “separation” of the adult migrants from their children: “[President] Trump temporarily blocked the migrant pathway by charging thousands of migrants with illegal migration while keeping their children sheltered elsewhere. However, Trump dropped the tactic when Democrats, immigration lawyers, and media outlets portrayed the successful enforcement project as a ‘kids in cages’ scandal, so generating a massive emotional reaction from Democrat voters. After Trump dropped the tactic, a few hundred of the foreign families left their children with relatives in the United States — and then refused contact with the U.S. government.”
At the March 1 press conference, Mayorkas said that in an effort to “reunite” the adult migrants with their children:
“We are working closely with counsel for the separated family members. We are doing it along with the countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. I spoke with the foreign minister of each of those countries this past Friday. We are doing it with nongovernmental organizations, and we intend to and will shortly harness the capabilities, resources, and desire of the private sector, This is not only an all-of-government, but an all-of-society effort to do what is right. We are hoping to reunite the [several hundred] families, either here or in the country of origin. We hope to be in a position to give them [the choice]. And if, in fact, they seek to reunite here in the United States, we will explore lawful pathways for them to remain in the United States, and to address the family needs, so we are acting as restoratively as possible …”
Also on March 1, 2021, a reporter asked Mayorkas if he believed, in light of the massive number of migrants and unaccompanied minors who had been crossing illegally from Mexico into the United States ever since President Biden’s inauguration, that there was a crisis on America’s southern border. Mayorkas replied: “I think the answer is no. I think there is a challenge at the border that we are managing, and we have our resources dedicated to managing it.”
On March 9, 2021, Mayorkas announced that the federal government would no longer defend in court the Trump-era “public charge” rule that required prospective immigrants to be able to support themselves financially. “The 2019 public charge rule was not in keeping with our nation’s values,” said Mayorkas. “It penalized those who access health benefits and other government services available to them. Consistent with the President’s [Biden’s] vision, we will continue to implement reforms that improve our legal immigration system.”
During a March 17, 2021 hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee, Republican Congresswoman Kat Cammack asked Mayorkas about Americans who had been the victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens. The exchange went as follows:
CAMMACK: I’m from a small town out West, and the month before I was supposed to graduate high school, which was 2006, one of my classmates was kidnapped [at knifepoint] by an illegal [25-year-old Pedro Martinez] who had been deported multiple times [after felony convictions]. And I think when you have policies that incentivize folks to come over illegally, and we don’t have the proper mechanisms in place to protect our borders … that kind of impact has resounding effects. So my question to you, her name was Amber Scott — the young lady who was kidnapped by this illegal criminal — how many more Ambers have to be kidnapped across America before you will take action?
MAYORKAS: Congresswoman, I find that question to be extraordinarily disrespectful. Disrespectful not only to me, but disrespectful to the men and women of Homeland Security and to all the frontline personnel throughout this country who dedicate themselves to the safety and security of the American people.
CAMMACK: I’m sorry that you feel that way. … I’m sure the American people feel very disrespected about the border situation we’re facing right now.
On March 19, 2021, TheBlaze.com reported that Mayorkas, during an interview on CBS This Morning, had spoken about a Biden Administration program that would allow parents lawfully residing in the U.S. to request refugee status for their children in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Mayorkas noted that despite the enactment of this program — which was originally an Obama initiative that President Trump subsequently discontinued — some minors might attempt to enter the United States illegally. Said Mayorkas: “We well understand that out of desperation, some children might not wait. Some loving parents might send their child to traverse Mexico alone to reach the southern border — our southern border. I hope they don’t undertake that perilous journey. But if they do, we will not expel that young child. We will care for that young child and unite that child with a responsible parent. That is who we are as a nation and we can do it.”
On April 22, 2021, Mayorkas unveiled a DHS strategy to combat the supposedly manmade phenomenon of global warming. “The climate crisis poses a multi-level threat to the American people, the global community, and DHS operations at home and abroad,” said DHS in a statement. “It is vital for the Department to provide leadership and act to minimize its own environmental impact, to promote resilience against the risks posed by climate change, and to facilitate adaptation, so as to reduce harms and threats to the American people and abroad. Addressing the climate emergency is a priority for DHS as sea-level rise, extreme weather events, workforce health, and other direct and indirect impacts of climate change will affect the Nation’s preparedness and national security over the long term. To combat this ongoing threat, DHS will implement a new approach to climate change adaptation and resilience, and it will do so with the sense of urgency this problem demands.”
On April 27, 2021, Mayorkas undermined the border-protection efforts of DHS by ordering that agents of the Immigration & Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) and the U.S. Border Patrol should not take criminal aliens into custody at courthouses, even if those aliens were wanted by law-enforcement authorities. “Ensuring that individuals have access to the courts advances the fair administration of justice, promotes safety for crime victims, and helps to guarantee equal protection under the law,” Mayorkas said. “The expansion of civil immigration arrests at courthouses during the prior administration had a chilling effect on individuals’ willingness to come to court or work cooperatively with law enforcement.” DHS said that thenceforth, a civil immigration enforcement action “may be taken in or near a courthouse only in certain limited instances, including the following: (1) it involves a national security matter, (2) there is an imminent risk of death, violence, or physical harm to any person, (3) it involves hot pursuit of an individual who poses a threat to public safety, or (4) there is an imminent risk of destruction of evidence material to a criminal case.”
On May 25, 2021 — the anniversary of the infamous death in Minneapolis police custody of a longtime black criminal named George Floyd — Mayorkas took to Twitter to issue a statement even though DHS had nothing to do with the events of that day. Tweeted Mayorkas: “Today we recognize the solemn anniversary of George Floyd’s murder [sic]. @DHSgov recommits to holding ourselves to the highest standards of our profession. In doing so, we reaffirm our obligation to a safer, more equitable Nation for all.”
As civil unrest roiled his native land of Cuba in the summer of 2021, when Cubans flooded the streets with protesters demanding freedom from the oppression of their Communist government, Mayorkas tweeted on July 13: “We also stand in solidarity w/the Cuban people & their call for freedom from the repression & economic suffering that Cuba’s authoritarian regime is causing.” But at the same time, the Biden administration slammed the door on the possibility of accepting Communism-hating refugees from Cuba (who, if they were ever to become U.S. citizens, would be likely to vote Republican). Mayorkas tweeted a warning to his former countrymen: “The time is never right to attempt migration by sea. To those who risk their lives doing so, this risk is not worth taking. Allow me to be clear: if you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States.”
Just the month before, Mayorkas had celebrated his own family’s escape from Communist Cuba when he tweeted on June 23, 2021: “I became an immigrant to the United States in 1960, when my family fled the communist takeover of Cuba. I am proud of my identity as an immigrant, a naturalized U.S. citizen, and a Latino.”
Mayorkas routinely articulated the leftist claim that DACA recipients were already essentially American by virtue of having been allowed to stay in the U.S. for years. On June 15, 2021, he tweeted: “These young people grew up in our neighborhoods, studied with our children in school, played on the same sports teams, and celebrated decades of birthdays and holidays here in the United States. They are Americans in every way but on paper.”
In July 2021, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen found that DACA was unlawful and that DHS could no longer accept new DACA applicants, though he said the Department could continue processing DACA renewals for the time being as the issue worked its way through appeals courts. President Biden said the ruling was “deeply disappointing” and vowed to appeal it. Mayorkas, too, said he was “disappointed” by the decision, but vowed that it would “not derail our efforts to protect Dreamers” (people who had first come to the U.S. illegally as minors). Said Mayorkas: “The Biden-Harris Administration—and this country—remain as committed as ever to ensuring that Dreamers are protected from the threat of deportation and are allowed to continue to contribute to this country that is their home. … In January, President Biden offered a legislative proposal, and in March the House of Representatives passed the ‘American Dream and Promise Act.’ I urge Congress to act swiftly to enact legislation through the reconciliation process to provide permanent protection that the American people want and Dreamers have earned.”
On July 23, 2021, Breitbart.com published a brief overview of the disastrous immigration policies that Mayorkas had helped implement thus far under President Biden:
“President Joe Biden and his deputies have allowed more than 600,000 migrants to come across the porous southern border in just six months since his January inauguration. The huge inflow adds up to one migrant for every three children born in the United States during the same period in 2020. The post-January 20 southern 600,000 inflow includes the 327,501 migrants allowed through the border into the United States under Title 8 of the nation’s immigration laws, plus the roughly 300,000 “got-away” migrants who evaded the U.S. border patrol. The inflow total does not include the migrants blocked at the border, nor the usual inflow of one million legal immigrants per year into a nation where roughly 3.7 million babies are born each year. […]
“DHS chief Alejandro Mayorkas is carefully opening many side doors in the border for migrants. For example, he has gradually raised the number of migrants who get through the Title 42 health barrier, from 14,000 in January up to 83,922 in June. That number is 25 times as many as the 3,320 migrants allowed through Trump’s Title 42 barrier in June 2020.
“Mayorkas is also making it easier for economic migrants to sneak past the border. In 2020, only about 69,000 migrants successfully got past Trump’s border, at a rate of roughly 5,750 migrants per month. However, under Mayorkas’ lenient policies, the rising inflow brought 50,000 illegal migrants across from mid-June to mid-July, an agency source told Breitbart News.
“Under Trump, the detained migrants were often flown a thousand miles back to their countries for free. But Mayorkas instead directs his officers to shuttle the detained migrants back to a jumping-off point on the Mexican side of the border, where they rest up for another attempt.
“Also, Mayorkas has largely abolished deportations and worksite actions by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency for the migrants who do sneak past the border. And his fellow Democrats are promising to amnesty all migrants who can persuade Democrat-overseen clerks that they arrived before January 2021.”
On July 30, 2021, Mayorkas awarded Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which permits migrants to stay and work in the U.S., to 100,000 Haitian migrants, including many thousands who had recently walked illegally into the U.S. across its southern border.
In an August 2, 2021 interview with NBC newswoman Andrea Mitchell, Mayorkas blamed former President Donald Trump for the record wave of migrants who were now crossing the U.S. border during the Biden Administration. “We certainly have a challenge at the border,” said Mayorkas. “We’re following an administration that frankly dismantled our capabilities to address it, and so we are building it from the ground up. We lost four years of investing in the countries from which these individuals are migrating. Our safe and orderly systems were torn down, so we’re rebuilding them. And our plan is in place, and we’re executing it.”
On August 3, 2021, Mayorkas announced that he was extending, by 13 additional months, the deadline by which Venezuelans in the United States could apply for TPS status. Mayorkas’ DHS said in a statement: “The Department of Homeland Security today published a Federal Register notice (FRN) announcing extensions of the registration periods from 180 days to 18 months for initial (new) applicants for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under the designations of Venezuela…. The 18-month registration period for initial applications under the TPS designation of Venezuela now runs through Sept. 9, 2022.” Noting that Venezuelans now had until September 2022 to walk across the Mexican border using fake identities — and to subsequently file for TPS asylum with valid ID documents — Center for Immigration Studies analyst Rob Law, a former top official at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, said of the new deadline:
On August 13, 2021, Fox News obtained a leaked audio in which Mayorkas, who had theretofore been careful to describe the border situation as a “challenge” rather than a “crisis,” spoke to Border Patrol agents in Texas where he conceded that conditions on the border were “unsustainable.” “The other day I was in Mexico, and I said, if our border is our first line of defense, we’re going to lose and this is unsustainable,” Mayorkas told the agents. “We can’t continue like this, our people in the field can’t continue and our system isn’t built for it.”
During the week of September 19, 2021 – by which time more than 14,000 Haitians had recently gathered under a bridge on the banks of the Rio Grande in hopes of gaining approval for asylum in the U.S. — the media were abuzz with accusations claiming that Border Patrol agents were using whips to prevent those Haitians from illegally entering the United States. Specifically, the controversy was sparked by photographs of agents mounted on horseback attempting to corral incoming migrants. Some photos showed the agents twirling their reins to coax the horses in certain directions. Many critics misidentified the reins as whips that were being used to harm and degrade the migrants.
Paul Ratje, the photographer responsible for the images in question, said that neither he nor any of his colleagues had seen Border Patrol agents whipping anyone. “Some of the Haitian men started running, trying to go around the horses, and that’s when the whole thing happened,” Ratje explained. “I never saw them whip anyone. The agent was swinging the reins that to some can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the pictures.”
Rowdy Ballard — who, prior to retiring, had spent 17 years on horseback for the Border Patrol and had served 6 years as the horse coordinator for Del Rio, Texas — told Fox News: “We all have the same message: we don’t carry whips.” Explaining that the Border Patrol does not train its agents to whip illegal migrants, and that those agents hardly ever place their hands on people “unless they’re not compliant,” Ballard said on America’s Newsroom: “It was a tense situation. The horses were a little reluctant to do the job that the agents were asking… twirling the reins was just another tool they used to get the horses to do what they’re asking.”
Notwithstanding the fact that the “whipping” claims were entirely false, the Biden Administration quickly announced that: (a) horse patrols at the border would be immediately suspended pending further investigation of the charges, and (b) the specific agents in the aforementioned photos would remain on administrative duty while the probe was being conducted. Biden’s announcement prompted Rowdy Ballard to say: “The horse is a great tool we’ve used [at the Border Patrol] for almost 100 years now. And with that going, it’s going to be harder to patrol that area.”
Mayorkas said that a full investigation of the matter was warranted. “One cannot weaponize a horse to aggressively attack a child,” he stated. “That is unacceptable. That is not what our policies and our training require. Please understand, let me be quite clear, that is not acceptable. We will not tolerate mistreatment, and we will address it with full force based on the facts that we learn.”
At a White House press briefing, Mayorkas said: “Those images painfully conjured up the worst elements of our nation’s ongoing battle against systemic racism.” When asked if he might consider eliminating the Border Patrol’s horse unit entirely, he said he would “take a look” at the possibility.
In October 2022, the Heritage Foundation released a September 24, 2021 DHS email — obtained via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request — which proved that Mayorkas, at the time of the “whipping” controversy in September 2021, was fully informed that the photographer who took the pictures of horseback Border Patrol agents had made it clear that neither he nor any of his colleagues had seen any migrants being whipped. “A DHS colleague sent an email to Mayorkas including a news interview with the photographer who captured the incident and claimed he didn’t see Border Patrol agents whip anyone,” reported the Daily Caller on October 12, 2022. Meanwhile, National Border Patrol Council Brandon Judd told the Daily Caller that the email “prove[d]” that Biden administration officials “don’t care about the truth.” “They certainly don’t want the American public to know the truth,” he added. “They specifically withheld facts from the American people so that the narrative would go forward.” “They knew that it wouldn’t matter that the truth was going to come out later,” Judd continued, “because they know that the media is not going to cover it. So they went forward with a completely bogus story, misrepresenting facts and misleading the American public. That should not be tolerated from the President of the United States.”
Between September 9 and 24, 2021, approximately 30,000 mostly Haitian migrants illegally crossed America’s southern border and gathered in Del Rio, Texas, where they hoped to be granted asylum. By September 25, approximately 12,400 of them had been released into the U.S. interior with instructions to report for immigration court hearings sometime in the future, while another 5,000 were being processed by DHS to determine whether they would be sent back to Haiti or permitted to pursue their immigration/asylum cases.
On September 26, 2021, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Mayorkas: “You say 30,000 people walked across … into Del Rio in the last 17 days. Question: Why didn’t you stop them?” “We encounter them at the border. That’s where we encounter them, Chris,” Mayorkas replied.
Wallace then asked: “Why didn’t you stop them from coming into the country?” “We did,” Mayorkas stated. “We encountered them, they gathered – they assembled in that one location in Del Rio, Texas, and we applied the laws. We applied the public health law under the CDC’s authority, and we applied immigration –”
“My question is why did you allow them in the country in the first place?” Wallace replied. “Why didn’t you build, forgive me, a wall or a fence to stop them from walking – the flood of people coming across the dam, it looks like a highway that allows them to cross the Rio Grande.” “It is the policy of this administration, we do not agree with the building of the wall,” Mayorkas insisted, explaining that permitting individuals to seek humanitarian relief was “one of our proudest traditions.”
In a September 30, 2021 memo, Mayorkas announced a new set of Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law. Some key excerpts:
In an October 12, 2021 memo issued to the Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) and Customs & Border Protection (CBP) agencies, Mayorkas announced that the DHS would now end all mass immigration-enforcement operations at worksites in the United States. Asserting that such operations should target employers of illegal migrants, rather than the migrants themselves, Mayorkas wrote: “The deployment of mass worksite operations, sometimes resulting in the simultaneous arrest of hundreds of workers, was not focused on the most pernicious aspect of our country’s unauthorized employment challenge: exploitative employers. These highly visible operations misallocated enforcement resources while chilling, and even serving as a tool of retaliation for, worker cooperation in workplace standards investigations.”
In an October 27, 2021 memo, Mayorkas ordered immigration officers to likewise refrain from arresting any illegal aliens at additional “protected areas” and “sensitive locations” like food banks, homeless shelters, churches, hospitals, schools, playgrounds, childcare centers, school bus stops, and places where disaster or emergency relief is provided. “When we conduct an enforcement action—whether it is an arrest, search, service of a subpoena, or other action—we need to consider many factors, including the location in which we are conducting the action and its impact on other people and broader societal interests,” Mayorkas told immigration officers in the memo. “For example, if we take an action at an emergency shelter, it is possible that noncitizens, including children, will be hesitant to visit the shelter and receive needed food and water, urgent medical attention, or other humanitarian care.”
In response to Mayorkas’ memo, Federation for American Immigration Reform president Dan Stein said in a statement: “The [ICE] agency still exists, but it has been stripped of all of its functions with regard to the enforcement of immigration laws. Nearly all illegal aliens are already off-limits to enforcement due to a Sep. 30 memo, and as a result of Mayorkas’ ‘expanded and non-exhaustive list of protected areas,’ where ICE agents are [not] permitted to do their work, the secretary has essentially nullified an entire body of constitutionally enacted laws.”
On November 16, 2020, Republican Senator Josh Hawley questioned Mayorkas about what Vice President Kamala Harris had been doing during her nearly eight months as the purported leader of the Biden Administration’s response to mass illegal migration across America’s southern border. The following New York Post report provides details of how a portion of their exchange went:
“Do you report to her?” Hawley asked Mayorkas.
“Senator, I report to the vice president and the president, and your question misstates the facts,” the DHS secretary responded. “The president did not appoint the vice president to be the border czar. He asked her to lead the effort in addressing the root causes of irregular migration. Those are two very different things.”
“Ah, I see,” Hawley answered. “So is she working closely with you on that important endeavor? How often do you meet with her?”
“I am certainly in close touch with the vice president,” Mayorkas said.
“How often do you meet on this subject?” Hawley pressed.
“I’ve met with the vice president more than a handful of times,” answered Mayorkas, who was confirmed as DHS secretary in February.
”More than a handful? Well, so what’s that, six or seven times in the last year?” Hawley said.
“Well, no, first of all, I have not been in office for a year, senator,” said Mayorkas before repeating that he was in “close touch” with Harris.
When Hawley asked Mayorkas if the vice president had traveled to the border with him, the DHS chief recalled a late June visit by Harris to El Paso, Texas. The vice president received criticism for the trip from Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who pointed out at the time that Harris was going nowhere near the epicenter of the ongoing crisis.
“And has she been part of your policies, your decision to end the ‘Remain in Mexico‘ policy, to end the public charge rule, to change the ICE guidance, has she been part of those decisions?” asked Hawley.
“I have not consulted with the vice president directly about those policies,” Mayorkas admitted.
“So what is she doing, exactly?” the Missourian asked. “You said she’s not the borders czar. That’s not her role. We’re wrong about that. She’s not doing anything like that. She’s doing something very different, is what your testimony is, but you’re not actually consulting with her on any policy. So what is it that she’s doing, exactly?”
“Senator, as I have repeatedly testified, she is focused on addressing the root causes of irregular migration in the context of the migration channels,” Mayorkas responded.
“How’s that been going?” snarked Hawley.
“That is a — We are advancing considerably, and in fact, I am contributing to that effort,” said Mayorkas, who cited trips he had made to meet with officials in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and other countries.
“And those efforts are working? That’s been successful?” Hawley asked.
“This is a process that takes time and delivers an enduring solution,” Mayorkas insisted.
During a November 16, 2021 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Republican Senator Ted Cruz asked Mayorkas numerous questions about the hundreds of thousands of migrants who had been illegally crossing America’s southern border each month and, in many cases, had been temporarily detained in facilities that Cruz called “Biden cages” — driving home the point that during the Trump Administration a few years earlier, Democrats had portrayed such detention facilities as inhospitable and inhumane “Trump cages.” Mayorkas repeatedly claimed not to know the answers to Cruz’s queries. A portion of their exchange went as follows:
CRUZ: How many children will have crossed illegally in 2021?
MAYORKAS: I believe that thus far through October 31st, Senator approximately 125,000 unaccompanied children have been transferred to the Shelter and Care of Health and Human Services.
CRUZ: Now, you told another Senator you don’t know how many got away, is there been?
MAYORKAS: I will have to circle back Senator with that information.
CRUZ: So that wasn’t a fact that you thought was relevant to this hearing.
MAYORKAS: Oh, it is absolutely relevant. I understand why the question is posed. It’s a fact of great —
CRUZ: But you’re not prepared to answer it. How about this? How many deaths, how many illegal aliens have died crossing illegally into the United States under Joe Biden’s administration?
MAYORKAS: I don’t have that data.
CRUZ: So, the deaths, you didn’t prepare that data either. All right. How about this? How many children have been in the Biden cages in calendar year 2021?
MAYORKAS: Senator I respectfully disagree with your use of the term cages.
CRUZ: Fine, you can disagree with it. How many children have been in the Biden cages? I’ve been to the Biden cages. I’ve seen the Biden cages. How many children have you detained at the Donna tent facility and the cages you built to hold kids? How many children have been in those cages?
MAYORKAS: Senator, I can provide to you the following figure that when — let me say that when a child —
CRUZ: I don’t. It’s a simple question. How many children have been in those cages?
MAYORKAS: I respectfully, I’m not familiar with the term cages and to what you were referring. There are —
CRUZ: Enclosures in which they are locked in, in which I took photographs and put them out because you blocked the press and didn’t want people to see the Biden cages. These secure facilities in which they are locked down in Donna that those facilities, how many children have been in them?
MAYORKAS: Senator there are three types of facilities. There’s —
CRUZ: The Donna tent cages. The Donna tent city, let’s take the Donna facility. How many children have been there?
MAYORKAS: It is a soft sided facility, is not —
CRUZ: OK. Are you going to answer the question? How many children have been in that facility?
MAYORKAS: I will have to circle back with you with the precise number.
CRUZ: (displaying a photograph) Oh, by the way, here’s a photograph of the Biden cages.
MAYORKAS: Why I articulated —
CRUZ: Children sleeping on floors, crashed in — upon each other. When I took this photograph, the COVID — rate of COVID positivity was over 10 percent.
MAYORKAS: May I may I speak, Senator?
CRUZ: You can answer the question: How many kids have been in these conditions?
MAYORKAS: That is precisely why I stated, in March of this year, that a Border Patrol station is no place for a child, number one.
CRUZ: OK. But —
MAYORKAS: Number two —
CRUZ: All right.
MAYORKAS: That is precisely —
CRUZ: Secretary Mayorkas, you’re not answering my question. So, let me ask you this. In the past year, has Joe Biden been down to see firsthand the Biden cages?
MAYORKAS: Senator, I will again —
CRUZ: Has Joe Biden been down to see this facility? Yes or no?
MAYORKAS: The president has not been down to —
CRUZ: OK, no. Has Kamala Harris been down to see the Biden cages, this facility? Yes or no?
MAYORKAS: The vice president was at the border —
CRUZ: Has she been down to see this facility? I know she went to El Paso. Has she seen the Biden cages?
MAYORKAS: They are not cages and —
CRUZ: What are these walls?
MAYORKAS: Senator, the —
CRUZ: Has Kamala Harris seen them? Yes or no?
MAYORKAS: Senator, the —
CRUZ: It’s a simple question. Yes or no? We don’t need a paragraph. Yes or no? Has Kamala Harris been down to see these detention facilities?
MAYORKAS: She has not been down —
CRUZ: Has any Democratic Senator on this committee been down to see the Biden cages?
MAYORKAS: I will, once again, disagree with your use of terminology.
CRUZ: These facilities, has any Democratic member of this committee given a damn enough to see the children being locked up by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris because of your failed immigration policies?
MAYORKAS: Senator, I cannot speak to the members of this committee.
CRUZ: You don’t know if any Democrats have been down there?
MAYORKAS: To — oh, I believe — Democrats have been down —
CRUZ: To see this facility. Yes or no?
MAYORKAS: On a facility. Whether they are members of this committee, I do not know. And if —
CRUZ: All right. Let me ask you a different question then.
MAYORKAS: That what we [Inaudible]
CRUZ: How many women have been sexually assaulted being trafficked into this country in 2021?
MAYORKAS: Senator, I have no ability to determine how many —
CRUZ: OK. You don’t know. So, you didn’t try to find out?
MAYORKAS: Have been sexually assaulted in Mexico along the migratory —
CRUZ: All right. How about this: How many children have been sexually assaulted by traffickers or other people when they were coming in illegally?
MAYORKAS: I do not have that data, Senator.
Mayorkas gave similar answers to questions from Cruz about the number of illegal migrants who had released while positive for COVID-19 or with criminal convictions on their record. For example, Cruz asked: (a) “How many murderers have you released?”; (b) “How many rapists have you released?; and (c) “How many child molesters have you released?” In response to each question, Mayorkas said he was “not aware” of any cases where such individuals had been released.
Addressing the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. in January 2022, Mayorkas proudly boasted that the Biden Administration had issued orders preventing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency from arresting and deporting most illegal aliens residing in the United States: “On September 30 of this past year … I issued new immigration enforcement guidelines. And in those guidelines, I articulated what I think is a very important principle. That we will not dedicate our limited enforcement resources to apprehend individuals who have been here in this country for many years who have been contributing members of our communities. Unlawful presence in the United States, alone, will not be a basis for immigration enforcement action … it is a matter of justice and equity as well.”
In a letter responding to Mayorkas’ aforementioned speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors in January 2022, an organization composed of so-called “Angel Families” — i.e., families whose loved ones were killed by illegal aliens — condemned the border policies of Mayorkas and the Biden Administration. That organization — known as Angel Families with Advocates for Victims of Illegal Alien Crime (AVIAC) — wrote the following:
“No one is or should be above the law. When it comes to the 15-30 million individuals who entered the country illegally, refused to leave when their visa expired or were denied asylum, and disappeared into the country, they are considered by the president, every Democratic legislator (and some Republicans), most of the media, and many state and local governors and state legislators and particularly DHS Secretary Mayorkas, to be above the law. […] DHS Secretary Mayorkas made it very clear that being here illegally is not a crime. […] The truth is that this administration and Mayorkas, in particular, decided to open the borders and possibly even worse to protect those who have already committed crimes. As of this writing, DHS has refused to release the statistics on internal enforcement deportations. Spoiler Alert: They will be atrocious.”
Characterizing both Mayorkas and Biden as “criminals,” AVIAC called for Mayorkas’ “resignation, firing, and impeachment.”
When Mayorkas met with and addressed Border Patrol (BP) agents in the Yuma Sector on January 26, 2022, one of those agents secretly recorded the proceedings. In that audio recording, Mayorkas could be heard saying: “The job has not gotten any easier over the last few months and it was very, very difficult throughout 2021. I know apprehending families and kids is not what you signed up to do. And now we got a composition that is changing even more with Cubans, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, and the like, it just gets more difficult…. I know the policies of this administration are not particularly popular with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, but that’s the reality and let’s see what we can do within that framework.”
At one point in the meeting, an agent asked Mayorkas how DHS was able to reconcile its claim that border security was the BP’s principal mission, with the fact that the Biden Administration was using BP agents not to patrol America’s southern border, but rather, to process the massive swarms of illegal migrants who were flooding across the U.S. border. When Mayorkas said he appreciated the agent’s “candor” and explained that he was striving to help the BP obtain all the personnel, funding, and equipment that it needed, the agent turned his back on Mayorkas as a sign of disrespect. At that point, Mayorkas said to the man: “Let me just say, you can turn your back on me but I’ll never turn my back on you.” In response to that, the agent stated that Mayorkas, by means of his policies, had actually turned his proverbial back on the agents first.
When another agent told Mayorkas that he and his colleagues found it “demoralizing” to see politicians and others routinely “demonize” Border Patrol agents, Mayorkas said he understood what it was like to be demonized — because threats had been made against his own life as well as the lives of his family members.
When yet another agent asked Mayorkas to comment about the small number of people who were being enrolled in the Migrant Protection Protocols — i.e., the “Remain in Mexico” program — Mayorkas responded: “The numbers are not where they need to be. I agree with that.”
Regarding the overall border situation, Mayorkas at one point was recorded saying: “Look, it’s worse now than it, frankly, has been in at least 20 years, if not ever.”
On January 31, 2022 — less than two months after the Biden Administration had decided to dispense with the politically radioactive idea of paying $450,000 apiece to illegal-migrant family members who had been separated from one another under the Trump Administration’s so-called “zero-tolerance policy” of April to June of 2018 — Mayorkas announced that the Biden team was now prepared to try a different approach. “We are advocating to Congress that they provide these individuals with legal status — that requires a statutory change,” Mayorkas said in an interview. “The White House is 100 percent supportive of it, as am I, and we continue to advocate vigorously for it.” Added Mayorkas: “I myself have met with some of the separated families. I learned firsthand the trauma that they endured and some continue to endure, and it is that that motivates us to make sure that any family that was separated by the prior administration is brought together again.”
On February 7, 2022, Mayorkas and DHS issued a “National Terrorism Advisory” saying:
“The United States remains in a heightened threat environment fueled by several factors, including an online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis- dis- and mal-information (MDM) introduced and/or amplified by foreign and domestic threat actors. These threat actors seek to exacerbate societal friction to sow discord and undermine public trust in government institutions to encourage unrest, which could potentially inspire acts of violence. […] The primary terrorism-related threat to the United States continues to stem from lone offenders or small cells of individuals who are motivated by a range of foreign and/or domestic grievances often cultivated through the consumption of certain online content. […] For example, there is widespread online proliferation of false or misleading narratives regarding unsubstantiated widespread election fraud and COVID-19. Grievances associated with these themes inspired violent extremist attacks during 2021.”
In a press statement regarding this same issue, Mayorkas said: “Since January 2021, DHS has … increased efforts to identify and evaluate MDM, including false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories spread on social media and other online platforms, that endorse violence.”
In February 2022, it was reported that President Biden’s deputies were rewriting the Trump-era “public charge” regulations that had been designed to make it more difficult for welfare-reliant immigrants to gain U.S. citizenship. “Under this [new] proposed rule, we will return to the historical understanding of the term ‘public charge’ and [migrant] individuals will not be penalized for choosing to access the [taxpayer-funded] health benefits and other supplemental government services available to them,” Mayorkas said on February 17, 2022.
According to Breitbart.com, “The new rule cannot eliminate Congress’s Public Charge law. So it creates many exceptions that essentially make the law meaningless. For example, the draft regulation exempts many welfare programs from the definition of ‘public charge’”:
DHS proposes that it not consider noncash benefits such as food and nutrition assistance programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Children’s Health Insurance Program, most Medicaid benefits (except for long-term institutionalization at government expense), housing benefits, and transportation vouchers. DHS would also not consider disaster assistance received under the Stafford Act; pandemic assistance; benefits received via a tax credit or deduction; or Social Security, government pensions, or other earned benefits.
The draft regulation also exempted many categories of migrants from the public charge regulations:
By law, many categories of noncitizens are exempt from the public charge ground of inadmissibility and would not be subject to the proposed rule. Some of these categories are refugees, asylees, noncitizens applying for or re-registering for temporary protected status (TPS), special immigration juveniles, T and U nonimmigrants, and self-petitioners under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
On February 17, 2022, Mayorkas and his DHS completed the publication of a document titled “DHS Southwest Border Mass Irregular Migration Contingency Plan,” which outlined a so-called “February Strategy” that planned to discontinue “Title 42.” Title 42 was a Trump-era policy requiring the swift deportation of illegal migrants who were deemed to be public health risks in light of the COVID-19 epidemic — without allowing them an opportunity to apply for asylum. The new “February Strategy” would be founded upon a highly anticipated Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statement, which would be formally issued on March 12, announcing that due to “a public health reassessment,” the CDC Director was terminating Title 42.
The details of Mayorkas’ “February Strategy” were leaked to Breitbart Texas on April 4, 2022. In a section titled “Secretary’s Intent,” the document said: “The purpose of this plan is to describe a proactive approach that humanely prevents and responds to surges in irregular migration across the U.S. [southern border]. This will be done while ensuring that migrants can apply for any form of relief or protection [emphasis added] for which they may be eligible, including asylum, withholding of removal, and protection from removal under the regulations implementing United States obligations under the Convention Against Torture.”
Mayorkas in the document made clear his intention to limit, as much as possible, the use of detention and deportation in U.S. dealings with illegal migrants — even though federal law generally prohibited the entry of foreign workers and economic migrants into the United States. The document outlined ways in which border officials could maximize the entry of migrants: “Current pathways to removal [deportations] will be limited. Component use of broadscale release mechanisms (i.e., Own Recognizance [OR] with issuance of a Notice to Appear [NTA], or parole and Alternatives to Detention [ATD]) with administrative tools are necessary to ensure humane and efficient treatment of migrants.”
In a section titled “Focus on Whole of Western Hemisphere,” the document said: “The Plan is based on the idea that transnational problems require transnational solutions. The intent of this Plan is to provide the structure necessary to coordinate international public policies to prevent and respond to irregular migration while simultaneously seeking to improve economic and social conditions and provide opportunities for advancement to populations across the hemisphere to reduce the compulsion to migrate by: (l) Developing human talent. (2) Creating more and better jobs.”
The document mentioned housing a handful of times, but only in the context of housing large numbers of migrants in the U.S. On page 28, for instance, the “Strategy” directed border officials to “coordinate occupational safety and health reviews of facilities housing ICE detainees and residents to mitigate the spread of infectious diseases.” On page 95, the report stated that the plan “requires that minors in INS custody must be housed in facilities that meet certain standards, including state standards for housing and care of dependent children.” Moreover, Mayorkas’ plan pledged to offer migrants the “opportunity to seek asylum, withholding of removal or deferral of removal before an Immigration Judge.”
Making no mention of the fact that federal law required the detention of migrants until such time as their asylum claims could be heard, Mayorkas’ plan instead used the word “detention” to describe an undesirable measure that should be avoided at all costs. For example, the plan noted that migrants could be detained if they happened to arrive in the U.S. at a pace faster than the rate at which officials could release them into the job market: “If the EOIR [Executive Office for Immigration Review] is unable to increase the number of removal proceedings for migrants during a land migration surge, it will contribute to overcrowding at CBP Office of Field Operations and Border Patrol temporary holding facilities and ICE holding and detention facilities.”
During an April 27, 2022 budget hearing of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, Mayorkas announced that a “Disinformation Governance Board” (DGB), whose stated purpose was to protect America’s national security by combating foreign misinformation and disinformation campaigns, had recently been established as part of DHS. The DGB was headed by Nina Jankowicz, who described herself “a disinformation fellow” and an expert on Russian disinformation. At two separate junctures of the April 27 hearing, Mayorkas said:
In an opinion piece published by The Hill on May 1, 2022, Joe Concha criticized the DGB by noting that politics are routinely used to determine what is classified as “disinformation” or “misinformation.” Wrote Concha:
“Here’s what Mayorkas’s choice to helm Biden’s ‘Ministry of Truth’ [Nina Jankowicz] once said about Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop [containing many emails that indicated enormous corruption by Joe Biden and his son Hunter], which many on the left and in the media dubbed as Russian disinformation in the weeks before the 2020 election. ‘We should view it as a Trump campaign product,’ Jankowicz said of the story at the time. ‘Not to mention that the emails don’t need to be altered to be part of an influence campaign. Voters deserve that context, not a [fairy] tale about a laptop repair shop,’ she also tweeted in October 2020.
“Well, it turns out the laptop from hell really is just that for Hunter Biden and possibly his father, the sitting president. The New York Times and The Washington Post, which both pushed the same conspiracy theory that the laptop came from Russia to hurt Joe Biden and help Donald Trump, recently confirmed that the laptop and its contents belong to Hunter Biden. […]
“The new head of the ‘Ministry of Truth’ isn’t tweeting much about that investigation these days. Why is that?
“Jankowicz was also a big fan of the now-discredited (and laughable) Steele dossier [accusing Donald Trump of colluding with Russia and committing various moral improprieties]. Here’s what she tweeted about a guest appearance that Christopher Steele made [in August 2020] on something called the ‘Infotagion’ podcast: ‘Listened to this last night. Chris Steele (yes THAT Chris Steele) provides some great historical context about the evolution of disinfo. Worth a listen.’
“Steele’s sources have since been proven not to be credible. His allegations of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, of Russian hookers and ‘pee tapes’ — also not credible. Yet Jankowicz once recommended that we listen to ‘THAT Chris Steele’ when it comes to disinformation.
“And here’s what she tweeted in recent days about Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter: ‘Last week I told @NPRMICHEL: I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities … which are already shouldering … disproportionate amounts of this abuse.’
“This pro-Steele anti-Musker will report to Mayorkas, who [falsely] said in congressional testimony this week that he inherited ‘a broken and dismantled’ immigration and border security system from the Trump administration and that ‘only Congress can fix this.’ […]
“The guy whose agency is launching a Disinformation Governance Board also, without evidence, accused his own Border Patrol agents of whipping migrants, saying that it ‘painfully conjured up the worst elements of our nation’s ongoing battle against systemic racism.’
“You get the point. Mayorkas and Jankowicz are two of the last people who should be leading any ‘Ministry of Truth.’ And the U.S. government shouldn’t even have considered creating something like this to be run by partisans with political agendas.”
At the aforementioned Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on April 27, Republican Senator John Kennedy asked Mayorkas, “When the department picked her [Jankowicz], did it know that she had said that Mr. Hunter Biden’s laptop is Russian disinformation?” Mayorkas replied: “I was not aware of that, but we do not discuss the internal hiring process. Ultimately, as the secretary I am responsible for the decisions of the Department of Homeland Security.”
Kennedy then asked if Mayorkas was aware that Jankowicz had spoken about the since-discredited Steele dossier as though it were a legitimate document. Mayorkas answered: “Senator, let me repeat myself and add an additional fact. One, we do not discuss internal hiring processes. Two, I was not aware of that fact. Three, as the secretary of homeland security I am responsible for the decisions of the department, and it is my understanding that Ms. Jankowicz is a subject-matter expert in the field in which she will be working on behalf of the department.”
Mayorkas also claimed to be unaware of a series of TikTok videos that Jankowicz had made prior to her hiring as head of DGB, including a February 2021 video in which she sang lyrics about fake news to the tune of the Mary Poppins song “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” Among those lyrics were the following: “Information laundering is really quite ferocious. It’s when a huckster takes some lies and makes them sound precocious, by saying them in Congress or a mainstream outlet, so disinformation’s origins are slightly less atrocious.”
In a May 1, 2022 appearance on CNN’s State of the Union program, Mayorkas was asked, “Will American citizens be monitored [by the DGB]?” He replied, “No, no, the board does not have any operational capability. What it will do is gather together best practices in addressing the threat of disinformation from foreign state adversaries, from the cartels and disseminate those best practices to the operators that have been executing and addressing this threat for years.”
On May 5, 2022, Republican U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, after citing numerous specific instances where Jankowicz had openly lied about vital political matters, asked Mayorkas: “If your intent was to combat misinformation, online or in the government, why on God’s green earth would you nominate someone who is a human geyser of misinformation?” Mayorkas relpied: “Senator, I am ultimately responsible for the hiring of Ms. Jankowicz to be the executive director of the Disinformation Governance Board…. I understand that she is an expert in disinformation, and she will have a obligation to execute her responsibilities in a nonpartisan way.” When Hawley then asked Mayorkas if he had been aware of the various instances in which Jankowicz had spread misinformation prior to her appointment, the DHS Secretary said: “I was not.”
On May 23, 2022 — soon after the implementation of the DGB had been “paused” because of the widespread public criticism it was drawing — Nina Jankowicz, who had been named to head the Board, contradicted Mayorkas’ assertion that the DGB would only have monitored “the threat of disinformation from foreign state adversaries.” Jankowicz tweeted that she had been “thinking a lot the past few weeks about the paper I co-authored in the US Army War College Quarterly in 2020,” and she provided the link. “It lays out a government strategy,” Jankowicz continued, “for dealing with disinformation based on 3 Cs- capability, coordination, and cooperation.” She added: “Since this piece was published in summer 2020, the spread and effects of disinformation on American society have only worsened and become entrenched in domestic politics (as the last few weeks of my life have shown).” Jankowicz then tweeted further: “This is the type of work I had hoped to do at DHS, and the type of work the USG sorely needs to invest in. This is the type of work that I have built my career on—not a few contextless tweets. And this is the type of work I will continue in the public sphere.” When she was reminded of the denials that the Board would get involved in domestic politics, Jankowicz insisted that all she was talking about “raising awareness of the falsities coming out of the Kremlin,” and that there was “no ‘combating’ domestic sources anywhere in the mix.”
In June 2022, however, Senators Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) obtained whistleblower documents which revealed that Mayorkas and Jankowicz had lied to the American people about the Board’s purpose and scope; that despite their repeated denials, the DGB was designed from the beginning to monitor and restrict the free speech of American citizens. Hawley’s office summarized the key revelations in the whistleblower documents as follows:
In spite of the administration’s claims, the new whistleblower documents reveal:
Noting that the ICE agency needed no congressional approval in order to carry out deportations of people who had gone before a judge and received final orders of removal, Gaetz asked Mayorkas if he had any plans to remove the aforementioned 1.2 million. Mayorkas dodged the question and instead indicated that a lack of “resources” was making it difficult to deport people.
Gaetz then asked, “How much money do you need to deport all of them? How much money? How many agents to deport the 1.2 million who a judge has said have no right to be here?” Mayorkas answered, “Congressman, there are a number of questions that your question raises with respect to whether all of those individuals actually have been given due process—” At that point, Gaetz interrupted Mayorkas to correct him, saying: “No, no, no, they have. These are the people who have had their due process, ok? And here’s the point. You have no plan to remove them. You don’t know how many ICE agents it would take and you don’t know how much money it would take because you actually don’t want to remove them.”
Gaetz’s questioning of Mayorkas also included the following exchange:
GAETZ: “So, do you think that it just might be the case that one reason that we will encounter the highest number of illegal immigrations in our nation’s history this month and next month is because everybody knows that even if they come here, even if they go through the removal procedures, even if a judge issues a final order, you [Mayorkas] still think that there might be more due process? And you have no plan to remove them, and when I ask you what the plan is, you say, ‘Oh, well, resources.’ I go back to my first question, how many ICE agents to remove the 1.2 million?”
MAYORKAS: “I’d be pleased to provide you with the resourcing data subsequent to this hearing, if I may—”
GAETZ: “I think it’s telling that you’ve got plans for pronouns and you’ve got plans for misinformation, but when it comes to the plan to remove the people that have had due process, you don’t have one at all.” […]
MAYORKAS: “So if I could return to data because I want to make sure that you have accurate information—”
GAETZ: “Everyone knows that you have more people coming in than ever and you’re removing fewer people than ever and it’s because you have no plan and because it’s on purpose. See, I don’t buy the theory that you don’t know how to do this. I think you’re actually a highly competent dude. But the reality is your plan is to bring these people in and to send the message to the smugglers and the criminals that they will never have to leave.”
Gaetz concluded his remarks by saying: “I think we ought to use the best tools in the country to find these folks, round them up like they were at the Capitol on January 6, and deport every last one of them.”
During a July 3, 2022 appearance on ABC’s This Week, Mayorkas told anchor Martha Raddatz that he thought the Biden administration was doing a “good job” managing America’s southern border:
RADDATZ: What is the plan on the border? You really do have migrants flooding that area. The peak was during the Trump administration, May of 2019, at 144,000 crossings. In May of this year, you hit 240,000 crossings. You may be telling people to stay away, but they keep coming.
MAYORKAS: I think we saw the tragic result of people taking the dangerous journey in San Antonio just recently, when 53 people lost their lives in the most horrific of conditions in the back of a trailer truck. We continue to warn people not to take the dangerous journey. We are enforcing our laws. And we are working with countries to the south, including our close partner, Mexico, but with Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, to really address the migration that is throughout the Western Hemisphere. These are remarkably distinct times, and we have a multifaceted approach, not only to work with our partner countries but to bring law enforcement to bear, to attack the smuggling organizations in an unprecedented way. We are doing so very much. Ultimately, however — ultimately, because the border has been a challenge for decades — ultimately, Congress must pass legislation to once and for all fix our broken immigration system.
RADDATZ: But — but, Mr. Secretary, that does not look likely. And you have Congressmen Henry Cuellar saying that only about 30% of the Border Patrol are doing missions at checkpoints and the border because the other 70% are tied up at detention centers. How do you fix that? Again, the message is not getting out.
MAYORKAS: Well, we are continuing to deliver that message, and we will continue to do so. And for the first time since 2011, the president’s fiscal year 2023 budget calls for 300 more Border Patrol agents. And we are hiring case processers. We are addressing this issue vigorously and aggressively, to address the amount of — the number of encounters that we are experiencing at the southern border.
RADDATZ: Just a simple question: Do you think it’s working?
MAYORKAS: I think that we are doing a good job. We need to do better. We are focused on doing more, and we are doing it with our partners to the south. This is a — this is a phenomena that not only the United States is experiencing. Colombia now has more than 2 million Venezuelans within its borders. Costa Rica has indicated that 2% of its population is Nicaraguan, and that might rise to 5%. The migration that is occurring throughout the hemisphere is reflective of the economic downturn, increase in violence throughout the region, the — the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the results of climate change. We’re really in a — in a regional challenge, and we are addressing it with our regional partners.
On July 28, 2022, Mayorkas authorized the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency to seal four separate gaps in former President Trump’s uncompleted border wall near the Morelos Dam just west of downtown Yuma, Arizona. Those gaps had become a major thoroughfare for illegal migrants crossing into the United States. The DHS claimed that the area “presents safety and life hazard risks for migrants attempting to cross into the United States where there is a risk of drownings and injuries from falls.”
In light of the Biden administration’s decision, Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked White House Ppress secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at her regular press briefing: “Why is the Biden administration building a border wall in Arizona?” .
“We’re not finishing the wall,” Jean-Pierre replied. “We are cleaning up the mess the prior administration left behind in their failed attempt to build a wall.”
“But President Biden, when he was a candidate, said, ‘There will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration,’” Doocy noted, referencing an August 2020 statement by Biden. “So what changed?”
“We are not finishing the wall,” Jean-Pierre repeated.
“If walls work in that part of Arizona,” Doocy asked, “is this the administration trying to get migrants to cross somewhere else, like in Texas? What is the point?”
Jean-Pierre again said, “We are not finishing the wall. We are cleaning up the mess that the prior administration made. We are trying to save lives. This is what the prior administration left behind that we are now cleaning up.”
“By finishing the wall, is this —” Doocy continued.
“We are not finishing the wall,” Jean-Pierre interrupted.
“By filling in, finishing —” Doocy said.
“We are not finishing the wall,” Jean-Pierre again interjected.
Doocy then asked, “By filling in [the wall], is this racist? Because in 2019, when the former guy [Trump] was proposing a wall, you said that it was his racist wall. So how is this any different?”
“I’m not even sure how you get [from] your first question to this question that you just asked me,” Jean-Pierre replied. “A border wall is an ineffective use of taxpayer dollars … Just recently, CBP reported that new bollard fencing along the Southwest border was breached 3,272 times between fiscal year 2019 and 2021, requiring $2.6 million in repairs. It’s ineffective. We are not finishing the wall. We are cleaning up the mess that the last administration made.”
The principal motivation for the Biden administration’s action seemed to be the fact that with the November midterm elections just over three months away, American voters were disenchanted with Biden’s open-border policies — policies that were likely to have very direct implications for the political fortunes Democrat U.S. Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, who the day before had praised DHS for filling in the gaps in the wall.
On September 11, 2022 — the 21st anniversary of the deadly 9/11 terrorist attacks — Mayorkas said on MSNBC’s The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart: “The threat landscape has evolved considerably over the last 20 years. Back when 9/11 occurred, in those years we were very focused on the foreign terrorist, the individual who sought to do a severe harm to enter the United States and and do us harm…. We are seeing an emerging threat, of course, over the last several years of the domestic violent extremist. The individual here in the United States radicalized to violence by a foreign terrorist ideology, but also an ideology of hate, anti-government sentiment, false narratives propagated on online platforms, even personal grievances.”
On October 5, 2022, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on a 2018 lawsuit in which nine Republican-led states had challenged the legality of former President Barack Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program protecting young illegal aliens from deportation. In its October 5 decision, the Appeals Court declared DACA illegal. In response to that ruling, the Biden administration, which had tried in August 2022 to preemptively codify DACA as a federal regulation prior to the Appeals Court’s decision, vowed to take legal action. “The Department of Justice respectfully disagrees with the decision and will continue to vigorously defend the lawfulness of DACA as this case proceeds,” said Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesperson Dena Iverson. Meanwhile, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he was “deeply disappointed” by the ruling and vowed that his department would work with the DOJ to mount an “appropriate legal response.”
Late on October 4, 2023, Mayorkas — in a sudden about-face from the Biden administration’s longstanding claim that a border wall was both unnecessary and ineffective — quietly announced that an additional 20 miles of wall would be erected in the Rio Grande Valley border sector in Southeast Texas. Citing an “acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers” to prevent more people from entering the country illegally, Mayorkas said: “The United States Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector is an area of ‘high illegal entry. Therefore, I must use my authority . . . to install additional physical barriers and roads in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.”
To expedite the implementation of this plan, the Biden administration waived 26 separate federal laws, including the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act.
On October 5, 2023, President Biden claimed that he “can’t stop” construction of the new sections of the wall because Congress had not rescinded the spending that had been allocated for it during the Trump administration in 2019. “The money was appropriated [in 2019] for the border wall,” Biden told reporters. “I tried to get them to re-appropriate, to redirect that money. They didn’t. They wouldn’t.”
On February 6, 2024, the House of Representatives took a vote on a Republican proposal to impeach Mayorkas for committing high crimes and misdemeanors via his “breach of public trust” and his “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” on border-policy enforcement. The final tally was 216-214 against impeachment. Reps. Ken Buck (R-CO), Tom McClintock (R-CA), and Mike Gallagher (R-WI) voted with the unified Democrats, who opposed the impeachment measure unanimously. After the vote had been decided, Rep. Blake Moore (R-UT) voted nay, but only for procedural reasons so that House Republicans would have the option of again putting the measure to a vote in the future if they wished.
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) did indeed bring the Mayorkas impeachment resolution to the floor again on February 13, 2024, and this time the House voted in favor of impeachment by a margin of 214-213, with three Republicans — Buck, Gallagher, and McClintock — again siding with the unified Democrats. This verdict made Mayorkas the second U.S. Cabinet secretary ever to be impeached, and the first since Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876.
“The matter now heads to the Democratic-controlled Senate,” reported NPR.org, “where lawmakers are widely expected to acquit or otherwise sidestep the charges and allow Mayorkas to remain in his role.”
Further Reading: “Alejandro Mayorkas” (DHS.gov)