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ICYMI: Homeland Republicans Get Answers From Biden Admin Officials on Mayorkas’ Post-Title 42 Shell Game

June 8, 2023

ICYMI: Homeland Republicans Get Answers From Biden Admin Officials on Mayorkas’ Post-Title 42 Shell Game

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border Security and Enforcement, led by Chairman Clay Higgins (R-LA), held a hearing to examine the Biden administration’s failure to prepare for the end of Title 42 on May 11. The hearing featured testimony from Blas Nuñez-Neto, Assistant Secretary for Border and Immigration Policy at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Benjamine “Carry” Huffman, Acting Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

In the hearing, Members highlighted the misleading shell game Secretary Mayorkas is playing with the American people by incentivizing illegal aliens to use the CBP One app in order to be quickly released into the country after claiming asylum at ports of entry. When pressed by Chairman Higgins, the Acting Deputy Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection admitted the new ‘pathways’ the administration has created across Central and South America in the wake of Title 42, such as the expanded use of CBP One, have incentivized an influx of migrants to flock to our Southwest border. He also confirmed for Vice Chairman Guest that any apparent decrease in the number of encounters may be temporary, as told to the Committee by U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz. In addition, the Members received confirmation that the Biden administration has released otherwise inadmissible illegal aliens, at times with no court date, to alleviate crowded facilities amid an unprecedented border crisis.

WATCH: Subcommittee Chair Higgins Blasts the Biden Admin’s Border Crisis Shell Game

In his opening line of questioning, Chairman Higgins demanded answers from Biden administration officials on their unauthorized use of the CBP One app to change the meaning of ‘lawful pathways,’ and addressed a direct quote from Mr. Nuñez-Neto that confirms the administration’s shell game:

“The solution that has been suggested here—one could argue that for my colleagues across the aisle, you’ve reached a solution—but it’s not a solution within the parameters of enforcement of existing federal law as established by the United States Congress. […] The federal immigration laws that have been established by Congress have been essentially replaced by immigration policy that legalizes illegal entry into our country. [The Biden administration] will tell you the numbers of illegal entry are down, because this executive branch has redefined what an illegal entry is. The CBP One app goes down through Mexico and Central America into Colombia. These migrant citizens, these children of God, who endeavor to enter our country—but they’re undocumented, which makes them illegal—historically, they’d be intercepted at the border and handled appropriately. But this administration has changed that. They’ve diffused our border and essentially extended the American operations for border control down through South America, Central America, and Mexico, and established these so-called ‘legal pathways.'”

“You admit that exact policy agenda. So when you report that illegal migrant numbers are down, it’s a shell game. It’s like a magic trick. We were advised by Chief Ortiz, in what I believe was his last confidential briefing, that there were 657,000 immigrants in the pipeline south of the border. [….] Where are those 657,000 people headed?”

Mr. Nuñez-Neto answered, in part:

“We believe many of them are waiting for the lawful pathways and processes that we have established not just in Mexico but in other countries across the hemisphere.”

Chair Higgins continued:

“They are headed here. Mr. Huffman, would you agree they’re headed here?”

Mr. Huffman confirmed:

“A lot of them are headed here. Yes, sir.

WATCH: Vice Chair Guest Slams Biden Admin’s Use of the CBP One App to Hide the Truth

Vice Chair Michael Guest (R-MS) detailed the temporary nature of any reported ‘decrease’ of illegal encounters and the way this administration has hidden the true number of Southwest border encounters in reporting by the Office of Field Operations, not the numbers reported by Border Patrol:

“Roughly two weeks ago, Chief Ortiz was here on Capitol Hill briefing members of Congress, particularly Members of this Committee, about events that have transpired post Title 42. We had the opportunity to speak with him. Chief Ortiz said that he believed that the reduction that we’ve seen post-Title 42 [is what] he believed to be a temporary reduction, and that he expected the numbers to return at some point back to the baseline that we had seen over the last two years. So my first question to both of you—do you agree with Chief Ortiz’s assessment that the reduction that we’ve seen is more temporary in nature?”

Mr. Huffman answered:

“I would agree with that statement [and] also with Chief Ortiz. There are still numbers there in Mexico. I believe that we can take kind of a wait-and-see approach to see how this pans out.”

Rep. Guest continued:

“There are roughly 1,000 immigrants a day who are able to apply for some sort of status within the United States using the CBP One app. A recent report by Fox News talks about how the administration is seeking to expand that very quickly to 40,000 a month. My question is, when Congress receives information, when the public receives information, from DHS about Southwest land border encounters—those numbers in March were [about] 191,000 and in April was [about]  211,000—are the individuals who are applying and entering the country through the CBP One app, are those individuals included in the bigger [picture] that we are receiving? […] That’s very important for us to know exactly how many people are coming across the border.”


WATCH: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene: “Let Me Tell You How Great it is” For Those Hoping to Cross Our Border Illegally

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) detailed the blueprint of the Biden administration’s CBP One app shell game, which is being used to mislead the American people regarding the true number of illegal encounters at the Southwest border:

“Let me tell you how great it is for people that are coming into our country that are not American citizens. They can find a wait time that fits their schedule. All they have to do is go on here and I can pick Calexico East, and I only have a five-minute wait at a port of entry. And then I can look at this neat little graph that somehow tracks what time of the day is busier or less busy. But again, this app does not track or check trucks, commercial trucks coming into our country. […] I think that’s a big problem for people coming into our country and being told to go directly to the port of entry. Instead, of course, going outside of the port of entries because that messes up the numbers. The apprehension numbers were off the charts, and that was a real problem for the Biden administration.”

WATCH: Rep. Luttrell Demands Answers from Biden Admin Official on Border Crisis

Rep. Morgan Luttrell (R-TX) highlighted the disastrous impacts of this border crisis on communities in Texas, including his district, and received confirmation from a witness that many illegal aliens have been released to help with overcrowding in facilities:

“Mr. Nuñez, ICE detention policy states that ICE uses its limited detention resources to detain non-citizens to secure their presence for immigration proceedings or removal from the United States, as well as those that are subject to mandatory detention, as outlined by the Immigration and Nationality Act, or those that ICE determines are a public safety or flight risk during the custody determination process. In my district, I border Polk County and Liberty County; the population of Liberty County is roughly 90,000. There are 50,000 illegal immigrants parked right on the border of my district and another Member’s district. […] That number of illegal immigrants in that small area is scuttling that county. […] The area that they’ve occupied looks like a third-world country. My question is, why doesn’t ICE move on that and assist our county in the removal of those undocumented immigrants?”

Mr. Nuñez-Neto answered:

“ICE’s function is to obviously enforce our immigration laws and execute what we call ‘final orders of removal.’ I don’t know the circumstances in your county, I’d be happy to look into it. I will say, ICE has never received enough funding to detain every individual we encounter. This has been the subject of active litigation. I think, as we have said, repeatedly, we are a nation of laws and we’re a nation of immigrants and we need to be able to enforce our laws while also providing avenues for immigrants who wish to come.”

Rep. Luttrell continued:

“I’m glad you said that. We are a nation of laws, and so in that we need to enforce those laws, but that’s obviously not happening.”

Mr. Nuñez-Neto answered, in part:

“Individuals who are issued a notice to appear (NTA) can go through the immigration court process which can take many years. It is an unfortunate reality in this country that our immigration and asylum system is so broken that it [takes] an extraordinary [amount of ] time for people to go through that process. Individuals with final orders of removal should be removed at the end of that process but, historically, it has been quite difficult under presidents of both parties.”

Rep. Luttrell continued:

“Have illegal migrants come across and not been issued [notices]? Because we’ve heard from leadership that that is the case, but I want to hear what you have to say.”

Mr. Nuñez-Neto answered, in part:

“We have paroled individuals in order to relieve the overcrowding in our facilities. Those individuals are required to report into ICE facilities and be issued NTAs there.”