(The Center Square) – The U.S. House Homeland Security Committee will be holding a hearing next week as part of its chairman’s stated plan to impeach U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Chairman Mark E. Green, R-Tenn., said the Wednesday hearing will be held to evaluate the impacts on the country of” Mayorkas’ “failed leadership and refusal to enforce the laws passed by Congress.”
The hearing is the first of three the committee has scheduled this month, Green said last month as the committee released its fifth report evaluating Mayorkas’ policies. The committee majority released five reports as part of its 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 Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and President Joe Biden have precipitated the worst border crisis in American history.”
The first report details the laws and court orders the committee says Mayorkas “ignored, abused or failed to follow.” The second report details how Mexican cartels “have seized unprecedented control at the Southwest border to smuggle illegal aliens, criminals, suspected terrorists, and deadly fentanyl and other drugs into the United States.”
The third report details how transnational gangs are working with cartel operatives to oversee a massive human smuggling operation; the fourth estimates border crisis costs to U.S. taxpayers of over $451 billion.
The fifth report details “consistent misuse and abuse of taxpayer resources enabled by Mayorkas, specifically through his failure to detain illegal aliens and use Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention resources in accordance with their intended purpose.” It also addresses the costs of halting construction of the border wall already paid for by taxpayers.
The committee also released 65 pages of transcripts of interviews with multiple Border Patrol chiefs. The chiefs told committee members “illegal aliens spread the word the border is open” and that the policy of pulling Border Patrol agents from the field has had “detrimental consequences and the homeland isn’t safe.”
Agents in California and Arizona also described the consequences of these policies on CBP sectors in their states, including closing checkpoints at ports of entry and in the field with no boots on the ground to interdict criminals, and expressing concerns about the record number of gotaways entering the country posing national security risks. “Gotaways” is the official CBP term to describe foreign nationals who illegally enter the U.S. between ports of entry, avoid capture and don’t return to Mexico or Canada.
Gotaways don’t file asylum or other immigration-related claims; intentionally illegally entering to avoid being caught. Many have criminal records and often run when they are pursued by Border Patrol agents or others in law enforcement, authorities have explained to The Center Square. The majority are single, military age men.
There have been an estimated 1.7 million gotaways reported since January 2021, The Center Square first reported. However, former Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz previously testified to Congress that gotaway data is underreported by between 10% and 20%. He and other law enforcement officials have also said they have no idea how many gotaways are in the U.S., where or who they are.
“For almost three years, the American people have demanded an end to the unprecedented crisis at the Southwest border, and they have also rightly called for Congress to hold accountable those responsible,” Green said in a statement announcing the hearing. “That’s why the House Committee on Homeland Security led a comprehensive investigation into the causes, costs, and consequences of this crisis. Our investigation made clear that this crisis finds its foundation in Secretary Mayorkas’ decision-making and refusal to enforce the laws passed by Congress, and that his failure to fulfill his oath of office demands accountability. The bipartisan House vote in November to refer articles of impeachment to my Committee only served to highlight the importance of our taking up the impeachment process – which is what we will begin doing next Wednesday.”
Mayorkas denies any wrongdoing, rejects the claims made in impeachment articles previously filed against him, and has said he has no plans on resigning.