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Chairman Green Blasts DHS Secretary Mayorkas’ Resistance to Testifying on Self-Inflicted Border Crisis: “More Evidence of His Dereliction of Duty”

October 9, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) today announced that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently rebuffed the Committee’s invitation to provide testimony about the state of the Southwest border and his handling of the crisis that has been raging for nearly three years under the Biden administration.

Read more in The Washington Examiner.

Earlier this year, the Committee launched an oversight investigation into the causes, costs, and consequences of the unprecedented crisis at the Southwest border—an investigation that remains ongoing. In the course of this investigation, the Committee released an interim report documenting not only how Mayorkas has refused to enforce or follow numerous laws passed by Congress, but how his policies and actions have directly led to the crisis under which Americans are suffering today.

Read the report here.    

In response to the Committee’s offer to appear before members and defend those policies, DHS rejected that invitation, claiming that the upcoming annual Worldwide Threats hearing held by the Committee would be the “appropriate forum” for such a conversation, despite the fact that this hearing has historically focused on a myriad of security issues, and featured other prominent national security officials besides the DHS secretary. 

In response to Mayorkas’ initial rejection, Chairman Green sent a follow-up letter to the secretary, informing him that the Committee fully intends to schedule the Worldwide Threats hearing this fall, separate from the border hearing:

“[B]ecause of the unprecedented crisis at the border, your testimony on border security, at a hearing focused solely on border security, is essential for the Committee to fulfill its oversight obligations to the crisis by receiving answers to the many questions we have that are specific to the Department.

“The Committee takes its oversight responsibilities very seriously and would appreciate your participation and insight in order to understand the entirety of the dynamic threat environment you mention in your report. I therefore request that you make yourself available for testimony at both hearings.”

In a letter dated Sept. 29, 2023, the department again rejected the Committee’s invitation, claiming that responding to congressional requests for documents and witnesses “leaves DHS with limited capacity.”

The Committee has scheduled the Worldwide Threats hearing for Nov. 15, 2023.

Chairman Green released the following statement Monday upon Secretary Mayorkas’ refusal to appear before Congress to answer for his record:

“Secretary Mayorkas’ refusal to come before our Committee to answer for his handling of the crisis at the Southwest border is yet more evidence of his dereliction of duty. We have doggedly pursued this oversight investigation from day one, and we have so far reached objective, fact-based conclusions that are not flattering for the secretary. However, we wanted to give him the chance to defend his record and perhaps fill in gaps we might have missed. 
“Despite this, Secretary Mayorkas has spurned our efforts to accommodate him, offering instead to only appear at an annual hearing in which he will not be the center of attention and can deflect to other witnesses.
“The only logical conclusion is that he is afraid of being the only witness in the chair, facing direct questions from Committee members specifically about the unprecedented border crisis his actions and policies have caused. His fears are well-founded, of course, given the increasing cries for help from cities like New York that have been overrun by illegal aliens, reports of approximately 10,000 daily encounters by CBP in recent days, and now a reported 260,000 encounters at the Southwest border this past month—an all-time record.
“It is simply absurd for Secretary Mayorkas to claim that he cannot make one additional appearance before the Committee this year, to testify about an issue that the vast majority of Americans say is important to them. They deserve answers about the chaos at our Southwest border, and he has a responsibility to provide them—not play politics in defense of his political legacy and radical policy agenda.”