House Republicans’ top investigators wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday demanding he pony up reams of information on the chaotic border that he’s withheld during his tenure in office.
The letter from Rep. James Comer, the top Republican on the Oversight and Reform Committee, foreshadows the issues the GOP is likely to press Mr. Mayorkas on if Republicans, as expected, win control of the chamber in next week’s elections.
Mr. Comer led fellow committee members in calling Mr. Mayorkas’ management of the border an “abject failure.”
“We cannot endure another year of the Biden Administration’s failed border policies,” the lawmakers wrote. “We have written DHS fifteen times this Congress to conduct oversight over the border crisis. Again, we request documents and information to understand the Biden Administration’s plans, if any, to secure the border.”
Among the demands are any documents describing Mr. Mayorkas’ plans to achieve operational control of the southern border; plans to cut illegal border crossings; plans to reduce the number of “gotaways” that the Border Patrol knows entered but couldn’t be interdicted; and plans to reduce the flow of drugs and terrorism suspects.
The Washington Times has sought comment from Homeland Security.
Mr. Comer and his colleagues fired off the letter just after Homeland Security’s border agency announced the final border numbers for fthe iscal year 2022, which ended Sept. 30. Customs and Border Protection reported new highs for the number of illegal immigrants encountered, number of terrorism suspects caught sneaking in and amount of fentanyl detected.
The department hasn’t officially reported the total number of migrant deaths at the border, but Fox News, citing internal data, said that too broke records.
“President Biden’s border crisis continues to break all the wrong records,” Mr. Comer said in a statement. “Oversight Committee Republicans are committed to holding the Biden Administration accountable for its dereliction of duty to secure the border. The American people demand transparency and accountability.”
Democrats, who control the House and Senate, have been reluctant to press Mr. Mayorkas and have largely shielded him from embarrassing public testimony.
The secretary has appeared before Democrat-led committees for budget hearings or general oversight, but not for specific hearings on the border chaos.
And there are plenty of panels eager to get a crack at him should the GOP claim either chamber.
In the Senate, both the Judiciary and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees could summon him. In the House, at least three committees can claim the right to demand answers: Judiciary, Oversight and Homeland Security.
The Oversight Committee Republicans alone list letters to Mr. Mayorkas this Congress asking for answers on his approach to Trump-era policies such as “Remain in Mexico” and the pandemic “Title 42” power to expel migrants; illegal immigrants boarding flights without valid identity documents; cancelation of border wall construction; and handling of Afghan evacuees.
• Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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