Allowing more migrants to cross the border into the U.S. was the only thing on the agenda for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas when he entered power with President Biden’s administration, former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott testified Wednesday.
Scott made the statement under questioning from the House Homeland Security Committee during a hearing focused on Mayorkas’ alleged “dereliction of duty.” The former federal official testified that Mayorkas is “not incompetent,” and that he knew what effect his policies would have.
“Do you know firsthand if Customs and Border Patrol agents actually advised Mr. Mayorkas and said, ‘Hey you need to reverse these policies to stop this tidal wave that’s coming into the United States’?” asked Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla.
“He was informed verbally. He was informed in writing,” Scott said. “I think it’s important for everybody to understand [that] everything fundamentally changed. When I worked for Secretary [Chad] Wolf, we had team meetings, we were asked for our input. We were told, ‘Over your career, what works and what doesn’t work?’ On Jan. 20, 2021, that all got shut off.”
“Our input was no longer solicited, and when my team and I gave it unsolicited, we were basically put in a box,” he continued. “They did not want to know what we had to say. They made it very clear: Expedite processing and find new ways to let migrants into the U.S. That was the only agenda.”
Scott began serving as Border Patrol head in January 2020 under President Donald Trump, and continued under Biden until August 2021.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., launched Wednesday’s hearing and laid out allegations against Mayorkas in an earlier press briefing. In addition to Scott, Republicans summoned testimony from former acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, who served in the Trump administration, and Joe Edlow, former acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
“What we know right now is that Secretary Mayorkas has either violated or subverted at least 10 laws passed by the Congress of the United States. He has ignored multiple court orders to cease and desist his activities. The blatant disregard for the Constitution of the United States, which states that the United States Congress passes the laws and the executive branch executes those laws, is just scratching the surface to the harm Secretary Mayorkas’ dereliction of duty has done to our country,” Green said during Wednesday’s press conference.
Migrant encounters have skyrocketed at the U.S.-Mexico border under the leadership of Mayorkas and President Biden. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports say they had 100,000 monthly encounters during Biden’s first full month in office. Today, however, CBP reports well over 200,000 per month, with the number exceeding 230,000 throughout late 2022 and early 2023.
While some Republicans have already pushed to impeach Mayorkas, Green has pumped the breaks on that idea. He said Wednesday’s hearing was focused on obtaining facts, and he has yet to push for any impeachment action.
Biden’s handling of the border crisis has long been among his least popular issues, with a May poll showing that just 33% of voters approve of his work on the issue.
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