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Chairman Green Holds Secretary Mayorkas Accountable for “Deeply Troubling” Ignorance of Cartel Strategy at Southwest Border

August 23, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, demanding answers on possible failures in intra-agency intelligence sharing following the DHS Secretary’s admission before the Senate that he was unaware of cartels’ use of wristbands in human smuggling operations amid the Southwest border crisis. This letter requests any communications, intelligence products, briefings, and media reports on the topic and continues the Committee’s ongoing investigation into Secretary Mayorkas’ failure to secure our borders.


Read more in The Washington Times.

In the letter, Chairman Green states, “The Committee on Homeland Security is conducting oversight of the Department of Homeland Security’s intra-agency intelligence sharing, particularly as it relates to cartel smuggling operations at the southwest border. Since President Biden took office, U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) has encountered over 5.1 million illegal aliens in between U.S. ports of entry. Nearly all the illegal aliens that cross the southwest border are smuggled over by a Mexican cartel. With smuggling rates for illegal aliens ranging from $3,000 to $60,000, President Biden’s border crisis creates a prime environment for a billion-dollar human smuggling business.”

Chairman Green continues, “Despite extensive news coverage and USBP’s acknowledgement that cartels use wristbands to facilitate human trafficking, you were apparently, and astonishingly, unaware of the practice. In a March 2023 hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Senator Ted Cruz displayed a poster board depicting five different migrant wristbands, one of which clearly depicts the word ‘entrega’ (delivery) and another ‘llegadas’ (arrivals). When Senator Cruz asked you ‘what are these wristbands?’ you responded, ‘I don’t know what they are, Senator.’”

Chairman Green concludes, “Your response is deeply troubling. The Committee expects that the Department’s leader is advised of important intelligence about the tactics that cartels use to smuggle millions of illegal aliens into the United States. Your ignorance of such basic and readily public information suggests a breakdown in intra-agency intelligence sharing and that such basic information related to border enforcement is not conveyed to the Department’s leadership. To help the Committee fully understand this failure at the Department, we request you provide the following, as soon as possible[.]”

Read the full letter here.