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Chairman Green: “Alejandro Mayorkas Has Been Derelict in His Duty as the United States Secretary of Homeland Security”

June 14, 2023

Chairman Green:Alejandro Mayorkas Has Been Derelict in His Duty as the United States Secretary of Homeland Security”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) delivered the following opening remarks during a full committee hearing that launched an investigation into Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ dereliction of duty.

Watch the full Committee hearing here. Read the Committee’s preliminary report on Secretary Mayorkas’ dereliction of duty here.

As prepared for delivery:

On February 2, 2021, Alejandro Mayorkas was sworn in as the United States Secretary of Homeland Security. He swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and faithfully discharge the duties of his office. Since then, the American people have suffered from a national security, humanitarian, and public safety disaster at the southwest border—a disaster that has turned every city into a border city and every state into a border state.

In just over two years under Secretary Mayorkas, more people have entered our country illegally than in the 12 years of the Obama and Trump administrations combined. This includes: More than 5.2 million apprehensions at the Southwest border;More than 6.1 million apprehensions factoring in America’s northern and maritime borders; and at least 1.5 million known gotaways—illegal aliens who slip across our border without being caught and are now at large in the United States.This should terrify every American.

Based on Border Patrol’s statistics of criminal aliens they DO catch, those gotaways could include as many as 1,180 aliens guilty of DUIs, 285 guilty of sexual assault, and more than three dozen guilty of murder.

Last fall, an illegal alien struck and killed Florida sheriff’s deputy Mike Hartwick before fleeing the scene. The alien had entered the country illegally in October 2021 in Texas and was sent back to Mexico, but at some point re-entered the country as a gotaway.

An unknown number of national security threats are pouring across our border each and every day. Since October of last year, Border Patrol has reported nearly 10,000 arrests of Chinese nationals that have illegally crossed the Southwest border, and the number continues to increase every month. I’ve confirmed that some of the Chinese nationals coming in have ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). That’s all I can share at this point, but we’ll be holding a classified briefing in the near future on this for all Members. DHS has no way to verify the identities and backgrounds of these people. They are almost always quickly released into the interior of our country to do who knows what.

This is the height of madness—releasing unvetted individuals from our nation’s most dangerous adversaries into our local communities. That’s what Secretary Mayorkas is doing. With each and every one of these individuals, Mayorkas is putting our national security at risk.

U.S. law states that one of the foremost duties of the Secretary of Homeland Security is to control and guard the borders of the United States. But Secretary Mayorkas has surrendered control of our Southwest border to the Mexican cartels. Today, nothing comes in or out without the cartels’ knowledge and tacit approval.

They have seized full control, pushing not just historic numbers of illegal aliens across, but record amounts of drugs like fentanyl, which killed more than 71,000 Americans in 2021—a horrific new record. Fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-49. American children are attending the funerals of their friends who have died of fentanyl poisoning. According to one recent study, more than 1,500 kids under the age of 20 died from fentanyl poisonings in 2021, more than four times as many as 2018.

Secretary Mayorkas has put all families at risk—even families visiting from overseas. The Lavenir family from France tragically lost their 19-month-old daughter Enora to fentanyl poisoning when on vacation in Florida. This beautiful little girl was exposed to fentanyl left behind by a previous occupant of their rental unit. How can any family in America feel safe when a stay in a hotel or Airbnb could end up in the death of their child!

The devastating consequences do not stop there. Some other “highlights” of this Secretary’s open borders policies include the following: More than 350,000 encounters of unaccompanied minors. The administration has since lost track of at least 85,000 of these children. Tragically, many of these children are being trafficked, abused, and exploited. According to a damning New York Times investigation many of these children are being forced to do dangerous jobs that violate U.S. child labor laws. All because of Mayorkas’ decision to stop vetting sponsors.

From October 1, 2020, to March 2023, Border Patrol recorded nearly 28,000 arrests of illegal aliens with criminal backgrounds, approximately 6,000 more total arrests than the previous four fiscal years combined. These numbers do not include data from states like Texas, which has apprehended hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens, and recorded more than 27,000 arrests of criminal illegal aliens itself.

In FY21, Border Patrol discovered 568 dead migrants at the Southwest border, nearly double the 254 found in FY20. In FY22, the number jumped to 853. More than 1,700 migrants have died on U.S. soil while trying to enter the county illegally on Mayorkas’ watch—people he encouraged to make the journey.

Mayor Adams of New York City recently stated that more than HALF of the hotel rooms in New York City are now filled with illegal aliens.

Cities like Chicago are putting illegal aliens ahead of their own citizens, allocating millions of dollars to house and care for those arriving in the city, infuriating residents of neighborhoods like South Shore who won’t get those resources. In May, Chicago Mayor Lightfoot stated, “We simply have no more shelters.”

Medicaid spending on emergency medical services for illegal aliens more than doubled in from FY20 to FY21, from around $3 billion to more than $7 billion.

This suffering and death fall squarely on the shoulders of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security—Alejandro Mayorkas, a man who has been derelict in his duty. Since his first day in office, Secretary Mayorkas has intentionally undermined America’s immigration laws and ended meaningful border security enforcement, and in its place implemented an extreme agenda of open borders.

The vast majority of those crossing our borders illegally are coming not because of COVID-19, “climate change,” or because CBP doesn’t have enough funding. They’re coming for economic reasons, and they’re coming in record numbers because Mayorkas has left the doors of our country unlocked and wide open. These individuals typically possess no legitimate claim to asylum and under prior administrations—both Democrat and Republican — most would have been quickly deported. The difference now? Mayorkas and his policies. Yet, not once has he taken responsibility for this mess.

The mountain of evidence this Committee has gathered proves Alejandro Mayorkas has been derelict in his duty as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Upon assuming office, he immediately went to work reversing and tearing down the effective border security policies of the last two administrations, replacing them with an open-borders policy of mass “catch and release.” He has also repeatedly violated laws duly passed by Congress. To date, our investigation has uncovered nearly a dozen violations of statutes and court orders.

Consider just a few examples: The evidence shows Mayorkas has repeatedly violated the law that prohibits mass parole of aliens into the country. The statute makes clear parole is only to be granted on a case-by-case and temporary basis, for an urgent humanitarian reason or significant public benefit. Instead, however, Mayorkas has done the opposite, directing and overseeing the release of hundreds of thousands of aliens via mass parole in just two years through various programs, including most recently his CBP One mobile app scheme.

The evidence also shows Mayorkas has violated the clear language of the Immigration and Nationality Act requiring illegal aliens to be detained while their claims are resolved. At his direction, millions of illegal aliens have been released into the country through a program called “Alternatives to Detention,” via other mass parole, or with a notice to appear in court. And DHS’ own data shows that when illegal aliens are not detained at all or only detained for a short time and then released into the interior, they are almost never removed.

Mayorkas and his defenders like to claim that we simply don’t have detention space for the historic number of illegal aliens being drawn to the border by his disastrous policies, which is the epitome of circular reasoning. You don’t get to break the law in order to fix the consequences of your reckless policy decisions.

The evidence further shows Mayorkas has also violated the laws regarding the deportation of illegal aliens. Illegally entering the United States is a criminal, deportable offense. Mayorkas has decided enforcing that law is optional.

First, he has issued guidance making it harder for ICE to detain and deport the vast majority of illegal aliens in this country. As a result, deportations have plummeted, and the number of illegal aliens on ICE’s Non-Detained Docket has grown by more than two million in just two years.

It gets worse. Mayorkas has flagrantly violated the laws requiring him to detain criminal illegal aliens. His own acting ICE director, Tae Johnson, told Congress in April that ICE had actually been releasing hundreds of criminal illegal aliens into the country! Into our local communities!

When last I checked, the United States was a nation of laws. We expect our leaders to follow the laws that Congress passes, and those who fail to do so should be exposed and face consequences. The Constitution is clear—Congress writes the laws, and officers like Mayorkas are sworn to enforce them. No one is above the law, not even the Secretary of Homeland Security. His failure to uphold his oath and follow the law has been the driving force behind the disaster at the border.

Mayorkas has consistently made statements to Congress and the American people that demonstrate either dishonesty or gross incompetence. Perhaps even both. He has said at least 19 separate times some variation of “the border is secure,” even telling a Member of this Committee in 2021 that the border is “no less secure than it was previously.” He has also claimed to have operational control of the border per the definition of the Secure Fence Act of 2006. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz confirmed to this Committee in March that DHS in fact did not have operational control of the border.

Only after this did Mayorkas backtrack and tell the Senate later in March that no Secretary has ever had such control per that definition. Mayorkas has claimed his policies are not responsible for the crisis—they are. He claimed he was handed a “dismantled” system—he wasn’t. And he claimed that DHS is promptly expelling illegal aliens—they aren’t.

Our investigation has unearthed nearly 80 occasions on which Mayorkas has been outright dishonest or misleading, and other instances in which he has displayed unacceptable ignorance about basic aspects of the ongoing crisis. Dereliction of duty is a serious matter. It means someone has either willfully or negligently failed to do their duty or has done such a poor job that there is no reasonable excuse. When that individual is the cabinet secretary who swore an oath to defend the Constitution and the homeland, the charge is even more serious.

Today marks the United States Army’s 248th Birthday. As a West Point graduate, I proudly served for 24 years. I know dereliction of duty when I see it, and as a commissioned officer, I was responsible for holding those guilty of it accountable. There is zero doubt in my mind that Secretary Mayorkas has been derelict in his duty!

As the people’s elected representatives, this Committee has a duty to investigate Mayorkas and bring any wrongdoings to the American people. What we have found thus far is damning. To date, our investigation has discovered that he has violated the laws of the United States, abused the authority of his office, and betrayed the public trust through repeated dishonest and misleading statements to Congress and the American people, while also demonstrating gross incompetence throughout his public statements.

I cannot imagine why President Biden, who is charged with defending the American people as commander-in-chief, would continue to tolerate this. Our investigation will show the President why he should fire Mayorkas immediately or own this failure personally. This isn’t about politics or policy disagreements. It’s about law and order, and the safety of the American people. It’s about whether a cabinet secretary has followed the law, upheld his oath, and been faithful to the public trust.

The American people want answers to this crisis. They deserve the truth. Unfortunately, Alejandro Mayorkas has been derelict in his duty as the United States Secretary of Homeland Security.

The cartels are thriving. Migrants are suffering. And Americans are dying. Their blood is on Secretary Mayorkas’ hands. I hope every member of this Committee works together to fix this disaster.