Homeland Majority Releases Phase Five Report on Mayorkas’ Abuse and Waste of Resources Amid Border Crisis
December 21, 2023
The Committee also releases roughly 65 pages of transcribed interviews with senior Border Patrol officials in report appendix
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Homeland Security Majority released its fifth and final interim report as part of the Committee’s five-phase, nearly year-long investigation into the causes, costs, and consequences of the crisis at the Southwest border and how the reckless decision-making and legally dubious policies of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and President Joe Biden have precipitated the worst border crisis in American history.
This final interim report details the consistent misuse and abuse of taxpayer resources enabled by Mayorkas, specifically through his failure to detain illegal aliens and use Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention resources in accordance with their intended purpose, and the Biden administration’s decision to halt construction of the border wall system that had already been bought and paid for by taxpayers—a move Secretary Mayorkas has publicly stated he stood behind.
Along with the Phase 5 interim report, the Committee also released an appendix containing approximately 65 pages of selections from transcribed interviews conducted with chief and deputy chief patrol agents from the nine Southwest border sectors. The striking testimonies of these senior Border Patrol agents details the unprecedented nature of the crisis, the operational impacts for Border Patrol agents, and how Mayorkas’ policies are largely to blame.
Read the full Phase 5 interim report here. Read the appendix here.
Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) issued the following statement upon release of the report:
“President Biden and Security Mayorkas’ open-borders policies have sparked the worst border crisis in American history. These failed policies have led to the waste and misuse of billions of taxpayer dollars, all in Secretary Mayorkas’ pursuit of policies that have undermined the immigration laws passed by Congress and made our country less safe.
“Halting construction of the border wall system, which had already been bought and paid for by American taxpayers, was not only a foolish and unpopular decision from a border security perspective but ended up costing taxpayers more than if the wall had been built.
“Under Secretary Mayorkas’ guidance, the anti-enforcement ideologues at ICE have run wild, undermining the agency’s mission to enforce the law. We are still investigating these cases of waste and abuse, and those investigations will continue into the coming months. For now, the American people need to understand how Secretary Mayorkas has betrayed their trust, and this report exposes that truth.”
- ICE Detention to Hotel Rooms—A Cost Comparison
- The federal government spends money every year to operate detention facilities meant to handle illegal aliens in its custody. ICE guidelines dictate high standards of care for these facilities.
- According to President Biden’s 2024 budget request, the daily cost of an ICE bed was $157.20. By comparison, the New York City comptroller released data in March 2023 showing the per-day cost of family shelters to be $339, while those for single adults cost $184.
- However, Mayorkas has implemented his policy of “catch and release,” whereby hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens are being released into the interior. These individuals are subsequently making their way throughout the country, forcing state and local governments to ask the federal government to reimburse them for those costs—on top of the expenditures DHS has already made for thousands of ICE beds.
- The Committee is currently investigating officials at ICE who have allegedly made “corrupt bargains” for ICE contracts and worked to undermine the agency’s primary enforcement mission. The most notorious example is the roughly $600 million in no-bid contracts awarded to Endeavors Inc. in 2021.
- The other factor to consider is the cost of Alternatives to Detention (ATD). Instead of detaining individuals while their cases are heard, Mayorkas has directed the release of tens of thousands of illegal aliens on ATD.
- In its FY22 annual report, ICE reported that it “significantly expanded ATD enrollment from an average daily population of approximately 23,000 active participants at the end of FY 2014 to 321,000 at the end of FY 2022.” The daily cost of ATD as of Sept. 30, 2023, was $204,509, for more than 194,000 illegal aliens in the ATD population.
- Ending Construction of Bought-and-Paid-For Border Wall System
- On Jan. 20, 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order halting construction of new border wall system along the Southwest border, an order that Mayorkas two years later said he still supported. The Biden administration canceled the construction despite the consistent support of Border Patrol agents for border wall system as an effective deterrent and an important tool for agents.
- During the Trump administration, roughly $16.4 billion was allocated by Congress to border wall construction and maintenance efforts, of which around $10 billion was allocated from the Department of Defense (DOD) military construction and counter-narcotics budgets, $5.8 billion appropriated by Congress, and $0.6 billion allocated from U.S. Department of Treasury Asset Forfeiture accounts. When Biden took office, around $1.9 billion of the funds Congress had appropriated to DHS and nearly $5 billion in DOD funding were still unspent.
- Ultimately, the estimated additional cost of suspending and terminating the contracts for the roughly $10 billion in DOD funding for border wall construction totaled around 20 percent of the allocation—an astounding waste of taxpayer resources—and this doesn’t even include the costs incurred by DHS.
- DHS’s requirement to contractors to essentially maintain a “stand by” status until the contracts were resolved also put these small businesses in a financially untenable position.
In gathering evidence pursuant to this phase of the investigation, members heard testimony from landowners and law enforcement in a July joint subcommittee hearing, in which they examined the effects of the Biden administration’s cancellation of border wall contracts on the safety and security of the American people. Members received confirmation that physical barriers are effective tools to deter illegal border crossings and that the Biden administration’s cancellation of border wall contracts has cost the American people millions of taxpayer dollars in wasted supplies.
This month, another joint subcommittee hearing examined the burdens placed on emergency management entities and first responders as a consequence of the historic border crisis. Witness testimony was provided by law enforcement and first responders, as well as a local New York State official. Witnesses detailed the immense strain placed on emergency management resources, entities, and personnel, and the public safety threats posed by the unprecedented number of inadmissible aliens who have crossed our borders and traveled to cities across America, such as New York City. Witnesses detailed the emotional toll on first responders who are facing staffing challenges and budget cuts thanks to the overwhelming influx, and the financial cost on local law enforcement from booking and arresting criminal aliens.
In October, Chairman Green and Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability, sent two letters as part of an investigation into suspicious contracts awarded by ICE that were facilitated by current ICE official Claire Trickler-McNulty and her former colleague, Andrew Lorenzen-Strait. In August, Lorenzen-Strait was covertly filmed discussing his Biden political connections and securing large government contracts- similar the sole source, no-bid contract for the non-profit group, Endeavors—for which Lorenzen-Strait went to work in January 2021 as senior director for migrant services and federal affairs—to provide services to illegal aliens.
Trickler-McNulty is the current ICE official in charge of approving or terminating contracts involving new alien detention facilities and ATD programs, and she has prior professional relationships with anti-enforcement groups. Chairmen Green and Bishop are demanding answers from Lorenzen-Strait and were joined by Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA), chairman of the Subcommittee on Border Security and Enforcement, in demanding answers from Acting ICE Director Patrick J. Lechleitner on these concerning reports of impropriety and suspected anti-enforcement bias at senior levels in the agency.
Throughout the five-phase investigation, the Committee collected evidence through numerous hearings, with testimony provided by frontline law enforcement, landowners, first responders, and Americans affected by the historic crisis, transcribed interviews with chief patrol agents, documents and information requests from the Biden administration, a member delegation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, direct testimony from Secretary Mayorkas, and more.
Read the previous phase reports detailing Secretary Mayorkas’ dereliction of duty, cartel control of the Southwest border, and the human and financial costs of the border crisis.
Read notable coverage from the previous interim reports below:
- The New York Post via Josh Christenson: Migrant crisis has US taxpayers on the hook for up to $451B, House GOP report says
- USA Today via Miles Herszenhorn: Mayorkas hearing comes as Republicans launch border investigation
- Bloomberg via Ellen Gilmer: House Republicans Escalate Investigation Against Homeland Secretary Mayorkas
- Fox News via Adam Shaw: Migrant crisis could cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars a year: GOP report
- The Daily Caller via Jennie Taer: House Committee Says Mayorkas ‘Enriched The Cartels’ After Second Phase Of Republican-Led Investigation
- The Washington Examiner via Anna Giaritelli: Biden border crisis costing taxpayers nearly half a trillion dollars: House Republicans
- The Epoch Times via Jackson Richman: GOP House Committee Report Accuses Mayorkas of Emboldening Cartels at Border
- The Daily Caller via Arjun Singh: House GOP Report Describes Border Patrol Burnout, Rise In Human Trafficking Under Mayorkas’ Leadership
- The Daily Mail via Morgan Phillips: Republicans kick off probe, saying he ‘blatantly lied’ to Congress 58 times
- NewsNation via Ali Bradley: House GOP members launch investigation into Mayorkas
- Roll Call via Suzanne Monyak: House GOP releases border report critical of Homeland Security chief
Read more coverage of the Committee’s transcribed interviews with Border Patrol sector chiefs:
- The New York Post via Josh Christenson: Border Patrol chiefs tell lawmakers of ‘demoralizing’ migrant surge
- The Epoch Times via Mark Tapscott: EXCLUSIVE: Border Patrol Agents Blame Policy Reversals for Historic Surge in Illegal Crossings
- Axios via Stef Kight: Scoop: Top border officials say releases attract more migrants
- The Daily Caller via Jennie Taer: EXCLUSIVE: ‘Shot Between The Eyes’: Border Patrol Chiefs Testify On Cartel Violence Against Border-Crossers
- The Daily Caller via Jennie Taer: EXCLUSIVE: Top Border Official Testified To Congress Shocking Details Of Cartels’ Migrant Smuggling ‘Business Model’
- The Washington Examiner via Paul Bedard: Up to 38% of Border Patrol shifted from ‘enforcement’ to ‘processing’
- The Daily Signal via Virginia Allen: EXCLUSIVE: Phone Calls and Social Media Posts Drive Record High Illegal Immigration, Top Border Patrol Officials Report
- Fox News via Adam Shaw: Border Patrol officials say threat posed by ‘gotaways’ at southern border ‘keeps us up at night’
Read more from House Homeland Security Committee Majority Members:
- Chairman Green for National Review: “The Border-Crisis Numbers the Biden Administration Doesn’t Want You to Know”
- Chairman Green for The Washington Times: “Not another dime for DHS until we get real border policy changes”
- Chairman Green for Newsweek: “The Biden Administration Just Keeps Making Our Border Crisis Worse”
- Rep. Laurel Lee (R-FL) for The Hill: “The Emotional Toll of Mayorkas’ Border Crisis on Border Patrol Agents”
- Rep. Mike Ezell (R-MS) for Townhall: “How the Border Crisis Affects Our Nation’s Law Enforcement and First Responders”
- Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY) for Townhall: “Drug Cartels Are Coming to Every American Neighborhood, and Joe Biden is Asleep on the Job”
- Rep. Morgan Luttrell (R-TX) for the Washington Examiner: “Texas Ranchers are Paying the Price for Biden’s Border Crisis”
- Rep. Luttrell for Stars and Stripes: “With military recruitment already struggling, we cannot afford a fentanyl crisis in our armed forces”
- Rep. Dale Strong (R-AL) for the Washington Examiner: “China is using Biden’s cartel-controlled border to infiltrate our country”
- Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ) for The Hill: “Who are the Mexican cartels and how dangerous are they?”