Republican Senators excoriated Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas at a Senate Judiciary Commitee hearing, challenging him about the administration’s incompetence or willful failure to vet refugees and secure the Southern border.
Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., immediately undermined Mayorkas’s credibility by claiming that he does not call “the shots” at DHS.
“I think those shots are being called out of the White House. I think they ought to be here,” Kennedy said. “The people determining our border policy—in your opinion—are they just incompetent, or do they believe in open borders?”
Mayorkas claimed responsibility for the administration’s open-border policies and declared his intense and immense pride in being part of the Biden administration.
Kennedy, in return, outlined Biden’s open-border policies.
“He supported amnesty for the 11.7 million people in our country illegally,” Kennedy said. “He promised he would end the Remain in Mexico program. He promised he would end the Safe Third Country agreements. He promised he would get rid of the border wall. He promised to encourage sanctuary cities, and he said, ‘I’m not going to deport people.’
“Can we agree that you don’t have to be Mensa-material to understand that’s an open border policy?,” Kennedy asked.
Mayorkas did not respond.
Kennedy also highlighted the administration’s decision to release into the United States illegal aliens who have COVID-19, criminal records, and an immediate need for welfare programs to support themselves.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., focused on the Homeland Security Department’s failure to vet Afghan citizens who the United States military brought to the United States.
“The fact that you are not conducting the most standard interviews for tens of thousands of people brought to this country is astounding to me,” he said, “and it seems to me you have not learned the most basic lessons that we learned on 9/11, since then, and the security risk is unbelievable.”
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., questioned Mayorkas about the Biden administration’s crackdown on parents, who it has labeled “domestic terrorists,” the reported $450,000 cash payments to illegal aliens, and the surge in illegal immigration under President Joe Biden.
Mayorkas claimed that he had no knowledge of the Justice Department’s investigation into parents who have attended local school board meetings, or of the the Justice Department’s cash settlements with illegal aliens who were separated from their families under the last administration.
Instead, Mayorkas decried former President Donald Trump‘s zero-tolerance policy.
“What is an appropriate outcome of that litigation in response of the family separation policy, the cruel policy, is something I cannot opine on,” Mayorkas said.
Cotton said that illegal immigration under Biden has increased by at least 250 percent.
During the Trump administration’s final year, 458,000 illegal aliens crossed into the United States. During Biden’s first year, that number has spiked to 1.7 million, with six weeks to go.
Mayorkas disputed the figure of 1.7 million because it includes repeat offenders, but he accepted a yearly total of 1.3 million.
“So, let’s say it’s 1.3, it’s still 2.5 times,” Cotton said. “Are you satisfied that 2.5 times as many illegal migrants have crossed into this country this year as compared to last year?”
“No, I’m not,” Mayorkas responded and took another swipe at Trump’s policy, “but worse is to promulgate and operationalize a policy that defies our values as a nation.”
“How about that defies our sovereignty as a nation?,” Cotton asked.
Despite the open Southern border, Mayorkas claimed that America’s “sovereignty is unflinching.”
“Oh really?” Cotton said. “Because, as it stands now at the border, anyone from anywhere in the world can simply show up and cross into this country.”
When Cotton asked whether Mayorkas considered border security or amnesty a higher priority, he deflected.
“Senator, justice is our priority,” Mayorkas said. “That includes securing our border and providing relief to those who qualify for it under our laws.”
No illegal alien qualifies for amnesty under America’s laws, which is why the Democratic-controlled Congress tried to include a massive amnesty provision in the recent budget reconciliation bill.
When Cotton pressed him on the question, Mayorkas admitted that the federal government cannot grant amnesty to illegal aliens, though former President Barack Obama did grant amnesty through the unconstitutional Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“Senator, we do not have the authority nor the intention to give amnesty,” Mayorkas said, apparently forgetting the administration’s support for blanket amnesty.
Mayorkas said the administration cannot solve the border security problem without broad amnesty, even though Trump controlled the Southern border without offering anything to illegal aliens in return.
Cotton responded that amnesty and border security “are intertwined chiefly because the open border that you and Joe Biden have permitted have attracted even more illegal immigrants here. That means our border’s even more open than it ever has been.”