House Republicans Tell Mayorkas He’s Lying, Should Resign

By Bethany Blankley (The Center Square)

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee told Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas he lied under oath. They said he didn’t prepare for the hearing by responding to requests for information by the committee and wouldn’t answer questions. They also told him he should resign or be impeached.

RELATED: Cruz to Mayorkas: ‘If You Had Integrity, You Would Resign’

Mayorkas appeared before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, which held a hearing on the “Oversight of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” Prior to the hearing, its chairman, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, asked Mayorkas to provide specific data about encounters with illegal foreign nationals, including details about asylum claims being processed. Mayorkas did not appear to provide the information.

After U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, repeatedly asked Mayorkas how many people have been released into the U.S. and deported under Mayorkas’ watch and he wouldn’t answer, Jordan asked the same questions.

“How many illegal aliens has the Biden administration released into the United States?” he asked. “How many illegal aliens has the Biden administration removed from the United States?”

Mayorkas said he would provide the committee with whatever data they requested, after Jordan requested the data prior to the hearing.

“We asked you to be prepared to answer the question,” Jordan said. “The fact that you won’t is bad, the fact that you don’t know is bad.”

Jordan reiterated that Americans want to know the answer. Mayorkas repeated the same reply, saying he will provide the data; “we have been cooperating with the committee.”

RELATED: Why Hasn’t the GOP Yet Walked the Walk on Its Mayorkas Impeachment Talk?

Jordan then showed the documents the committee received from DHS in response to questions it asked about its disinformation board created last year under Mayorkas.

The pages are blank.

U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyoming, thanked Mayorkas for “your performance. I have watched with fascination as you have danced and dodged and lied, yes lied. We know you’ve lied. You know you’ve lied; more importantly the American public knows that you lied throughout your testimony today.”

Mayorkas repeatedly claimed the border is secure, a claim U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-New York, also affirmed on Wednesday.

Referring to DHS’ disinformation board, Hageman said, “And yet you believe that you and your fellow architects of the censorship industrial complex think that you should be able to determine what is and isn’t true and what is and isn’t untrue.

“You are the walking, talking epitome of the very tyrant that our forefathers recognized would gravitate towards government service. It is because of people like you that they drafted the First Amendment. …You do not have the right to limit our freedom of speech … Thank God we have the First Amendment so that we can stop you from doing what you’ve been doing.”

Former Democrat turned Republican U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew from New Jersey listed what he said were Mayorkas’ failures and said he must resign, and then asked if he would resign.

Mayorkas replied, “No, I will not. I am incredibly proud of the work that is performed at the Department of Homeland Security.”

In response, Van Drew said, “Secretary Mayorkas if you will not resign that leaves us with no other option. You should be impeached.”

RELATED: Biden Admin Ripped Apart for Whining About Illegal Aliens Being Bussed to Blue Cities

U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, told Mayorkas, “I’ve been in Congress seven years. I think you’re the most dishonest witness that has ever appeared before the Judiciary Committee. I think I speak for a lot of my colleagues. This is such a frustrating exercise … because our constituents want answers. They’re tired of open borders, they’re tired of people dying from fentanyl overdoses, and it’s your fault.”

The hearing was held as 525 known or suspected terrorists have been apprehended attempting to illegally enter the U.S. so far this fiscal year, including one that was released into the U.S. by DHS last year.

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

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Supreme Court Deals Major Blow To Texas, Louisiana In Deportation Lawsuit

By Bethany Blankley (The Center Square)

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a major blow to Texas and Louisiana Friday in a lawsuit over a Biden administration policy that’s helped effectively end most deportations of foreign nationals in the U.S. illegally.

Rather than rule on the merits of the case, in United States v. Texas, the court ruled 8-1 that the states didn’t have standing, or a legal right, to challenge the policy.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote the sole dissent, arguing the justices ignored “a major precedent.”

He wrote:

“The Court holds Texas lacks standing to challenge a federal policy that inflicts substantial harm on the State and its residents by releasing illegal aliens with criminal convictions for serious crimes.

In order to reach this conclusion, the Court brushes aside a major precedent that directly controls the standing question, refuses to apply our established test for standing, disregards factual findings made by the District Court after a trial, and holds that the only limit on the power of a President to disobey a law like the important provision at issue is Congress’s power to employ the weapons of inter-branch warfare – withholding funds, impeachment and removal, etc. I would not blaze this unfortunate trail. I would simply apply settled law, which leads ineluctably to the conclusion that Texas has standing.”

Last June, a federal judge in Texas, U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, ruled in favor of Texas and Louisiana, arguing they would incur costs due to the federal government’s failure to comply with federal immigration law and deportation policies. The judge ruled the states had standing to sue because of these costs. He also vacated the deportation policy, arguing it was unlawful.

The Biden administration appealed to the Fifth Circuit, which again handed a victory to the states by declining to stay the lower court’s ruling. The Biden administration appealed to the Supreme Court, which granted cert. Last fall, the court heard oral arguments and on Friday ruled the states lacked Article III standing.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote for the majority and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote a different opinion saying the states didn’t have standing for a different reason than the one Kavanaugh gave. He was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Amy Coney Barrett. Barrett also wrote her own concurring opinion and was joined by Gorsuch.

Related: Feds Catch More Than 460 Known, Suspected Terrorists In Nine Months, Most At Northern Border

At issue is a final memorandum, “Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law,” issued by Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, drastically altering deportation policies, including limiting issuing detainer requests for dangerous criminal aliens.

In Mayorkas’ final September 2021 memorandum, he also challenged federal law established by Congress that illegal entry is a crime in itself and a deportable offense. The policy states: “The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen therefore should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them. We will use our discretion and focus our enforcement resources in a more targeted way. Justice and our country’s well-being require it.”

Many news organizations reported the Supreme Court ruling would allow the administration to prioritize deporting violent criminals. But under the current administration, deportations immediately dropped by two-thirds in the first fiscal year of the administration, according to CBP data. In fiscal 2021, deportations also dropped to the lowest level since fiscal 1996 despite record-high illegal entries.

Mayorkas’ policy also followed President Joe Biden’s directive, who after taking office ordered a “pause” on deportations.

Related: Illegal Border Crossers So Far This Year Outnumber The Population Of 8 States

Last July, 19 attorneys general filed an amicus brief expressing support for Texas’ and Louisiana’s lawsuit, arguing Mayorkas violated federal law and DHS’s actions negatively impacted their states and jeopardized the safety and welfare of Americans.

The AGs argued, and still maintain, “The Amici States and their citizens continue to suffer significant costs from illegal immigration – including billions of dollars in new expenses relating to law enforcement, education, and healthcare programs – as a direct result of Defendants’ failures to enforce immigration law. Those harms are exacerbated by DHS’ increasingly brazen disrespect for the requirements of our nation’s immigration laws and the Administrative Procedure Act.

“The border is in crisis,” they argued. “This DHS Administration is lawless. And the States continue to suffer escalating irreparable harm as the border crisis continually intensifies to successive, ever-more unprecedented levels of illegal crossings.”

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

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Feds Catch More Than 460 Known, Suspected Terrorists In Nine Months, Most At Northern Border

By Bethany Blankley (The Center Square)

There have been hundreds of known or suspected terrorists apprehended at the northern and southern borders in the current fiscal year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.

As foreign nationals illegally enter the U.S. and are apprehended, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations agents screen them against a federal Terrorist Screening Dataset, which includes sensitive information about terrorist identities. It originated as a consolidated terrorist watch list “to house information on known or suspected terrorists, or KSTs, but has evolved over the last decade to include additional individuals who represent a potential threat to the United States, including known affiliates of watch-listed individuals,” CBP states.

As of June 15, OFO agents apprehended 53 KSTs at southwest border ports of entry and 284 at northern border ports of entry, totaling 337. CBP’s fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

They also apprehended 125 KSTs between ports of entry at the southern border and two between ports of entry at the northern border, totaling 127 KSTs fiscal year to date. 

Combined, they’ve apprehended 464 known or suspected terrorists.

That’s nearly a 30% increase in one month after previous increases were roughly 87%.

Related: Illegal Border Crossers So Far This Year Outnumber The Population Of 8 States

Roughly one month ago, The Center Square reported OFO agents apprehended 332 KSTs at both borders. They apprehended 125 at the southern border (45 KSTs at ports of entry and 80 between ports of entry) and 207 at the northern border (205 at ports of entry and two between ports of entry).

These numbers were up from 284 KSTs apprehended by March, which was significantly up from 38 apprehended by January, an 87% increase in just two months.

By comparison, in fiscal 2022, 478 KSTs were apprehended in fiscal 2022. Agents apprehended 165 at the southern border (67 at ports of entry and 98 between ports of entry) and 313 at northern border ports of entry. 

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas maintains that the border is closed and secure. He’s refused to resign despite growing calls for him to do so. Multiple attorneys general and members of Congress have called for his impeachment.

While border security experts acknowledge the commendable work of OFO agents in apprehending known or suspected terrorists, they also express concern about how many have illegally entered the U.S. unabated. 

Related: Border Patrol To Release Foreign Nationals En Masse Into Communities As Title 42 Ends

Last month, former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Trump administration Tom Homan warned, “What’s happening is the greatest national security threat since 9/11. Border Patrol has arrested people from 171 countries. Many of these countries are sponsors of terrorism.”

He also pointed to the record number of gotaways, those who’ve illegally entered the U.S. and evaded capture by law enforcement, totaling over 1.7 million reported by Border Patrol agents since the president’s been in office – that number’s since gone up.

“If you don’t think a single one of the 1.7 million is coming from a country that sponsors terrorism, then you’re ignoring the data,” Homan said. “That’s what makes this a huge national security issue.”

While many have focused on the southern border, a congressional Northern Border Security Caucus was formed in March to call for additional security along there. It’s mainly left unmanned when comparing the amount of personnel to square mileage.

The U.S. northern border is the longest international border in the world, spanning 5,525 miles. Fourteen states share the U.S.-Canada border; 13 to Canada’s south and Alaska to its west.

By comparison, four states share 1,954 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, with Texas sharing the most of 1,254 miles.

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

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Poll: Voters Nearly Split on Wanting Congress to Impeach President Biden

According to a new Rasmussen Reports poll, voters remain statistically tied in their support for or opposition to Congress impeaching President Joe Biden.

The poll of nearly 1,000 likely voters found that 42% surveyed said they favored Congress holding impeachment proceeding against Biden; 45% said the opposite. The poll has a 3% +/- margin of error.

RELATED: Joe Biden ‘Will Be Impeached’ Over Report Allegedly Linking Him to ‘Criminal Scheme,’ Says MTG

A strong majority of Republicans, 70%, said Congress should hold impeachment hearings; 71% of Democrats said Congress shouldn’t. Among independents, 39% said Congress should begin impeachment proceedings; 40% said they shouldn’t.

The poll asked three key questions. It first asked, “How likely is it that, since becoming president, Joe Biden has committed high crimes and misdemeanors that would justify Congress impeaching him?” It next asked, “Should Congress begin impeachment proceedings against President Biden?” Finally, it asked, “Regardless of whether or not you think President Biden should be impeached, how likely is it that Congress actually will pursue impeachment proceedings against President Biden?”

The majority of all polled, 53%, said it was “at least somewhat likely” that since taking office the president has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors that would justify Congress impeaching him.” Among them, 38% said it was “very likely” that he had committed “high crimes and misdemeanors;” 28% said it was “not at all likely.”

Over one-third of Democrats and 48% of independents said it was “at least somewhat likely.”

More men than women, 58% to 48%, said it was likely that the president has committed high crimes and misdemeanors; men were also more likely to support Congress holding impeachment proceedings.

RELATED: GOP Leader McCarthy Again Gets Squishy When Asked About Impeaching Biden

Despite this, 66% said it was “at least not very likely;” 29% said it was “not at all likely” that Congress would do anything.

The findings were published as a recent report found that “the FBI had no verifiable evidence that President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to sway the outcome of the 2016 presidential election when it launched a federal investigation.”

The findings were also published after attorneys for an IRS whistleblower informed members of Congress “that their client, who claims to have information suggesting the Biden administration could be mishandling the investigation into President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, has been removed from the probe into the president’s son,” ABC News reported.

According to a recent Reuters-Ipsos survey conducted May 9-15, if a rematch were held today, Biden would receive 38% of the vote, Trump would receive 36%. According to a recent Harvard CAPS-Harris poll, Trump would defeat Biden by seven percentage points.

RELATED: Biden Administration’s New Mortgage Policy: Unjust and Dangerous

The Rasmussen Reports poll results were released on the same day U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, announced she planned to file articles of impeachment against Biden. Her main reason for doing so, she said, was because the president has “deliberately compromised our national security by refusing to enforce immigration laws and secure our border” by allowing “approximately six million illegals from over 170 countries to invade our country.”

White House spokesman Ian Sams said Greene’s announcement was a “shameless sideshow political stunt.”

The Rasmussen poll was conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC, which surveyed 996 likely registered voters nationwide by phone and online on May 11 and 14-15.

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

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GOP Drafts Articles of Impeachment Against Defense Secretary Austin for Afghan Disaster

By Bethany Blankley (The Center Square)

U.S. Rep. Cory Mills, R-Florida, told Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last week that he was drafting articles of impeachment against him for “dereliction of duty.”

Mills cited the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan that put the Taliban back in power, led to the death of 13 service members, left thousands of Americans and Afghan allies behind, and left $83 billion worth of military training equipment, weapons and ammunition to U.S. enemies.

RELATED: Biden Admin Admits Over 100 Americans Still Left Behind in Afghanistan

At a House Armed Services Committee hearing held on March 29 on oversight of the U.S. Defense Department budget, Mills, an Army combat veteran and Bronze Star recipient, told Austin he’d already drafted articles of impeachment against him and planned “to hold him accountable.”

Mills asked Austin and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who were both called to testify before the committee, “If an officer has a dereliction of duty, there are many articles which could remove him for that reasoning, is that correct?” They both replied in the affirmative.

He said his understanding of the definition of dereliction of duty “is a person’s purposeful or accidental failure to perform his obligations. Would we agree with that?” Austin shook his head in the affirmative.

“There’s also willful dereliction of duty,” Mills continued, “which in my opinion is nothing more than a failure through negligence.”

Mills addressed Austin directly, stating, “We have seen where we have failed to secure a status of forces agreement during Iraq withdrawal, which has now allowed ISIS to retake key locations in Baghdad. We have Afghanistan in control of the Taliban … with billions of dollars in weapons, armament, defense articles, millions of dollars in cash, thereby actually creating probably one of the most well-funded and well-positioned terrorist organizations in the world. Even though our intent in going into Afghanistan was actually to stop it from being a safe haven of terrorism.”

Mills cited U.S. foreign policy failures in the Middle East, saying they were personal because of his combat service and because before he was elected to Congress he helped “conduct one of the very first successful overland rescues of Americans who were left behind in this botched withdrawal.”

He also cited an example of a sergeant who could have taken out a suicide bomber in Afghanistan and saved American lives but there were escalation of force or rules of engagement not allowing him to do so, Mills said. “The idea of being deployed and going down without an escalation of force or clear rules of engagement even after receiving a BOLO identifying the target is a failure in leadership,” Mills said, looking Austin directly in the eye.

RELATED: Afghan Reconstruction Inspector Believes US Destined to Repeat Mistakes in Ukraine

“In my opinion, this is willful,” he added. “That is why Secretary Austin not only do I believe that you should have resigned,” but his actions constituted “a dereliction of duty.”

“I take that very seriously, especially for our armed service members and those who are looking for accountability as a result of this botched withdrawal,” he continued. … “I’ve already drafted my articles of impeachment for dereliction of duty.”

U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, was next called to speak but first asked Austin if he wanted to respond to Mills’ comments. Austin replied by saying, “The congressman is certainly entitled to his opinion.” He then looked at Mills and said, “We all thank you for your service. I don’t take a back bench when it comes to patriotism, devotion to our cause here, protection to our troops.”

Appearing to be taken off guard, Austin began his response calmly but his tone escalated to appear to be combative, saying, “In the short 41 years that I spent in uniform, … almost six years of that was in a combat zone. So, I get it. I commanded Bagram Airforce Base so I know a little bit about Bagram Airforce Base. But again, you’re welcome to your opinion and so I’ll leave it at that.”

On the day of the hearing, Mills published a short statement, saying, “When we had the chance, our leadership blew it. Sergeant Major Vargas-Andrews had the bomber in his sight, and in my view, it was a failure of leadership that he was not given the OK to take him down. This is not about politics; this is about accountability. That is why I drafted articles of impeachment to hold Secretary Lloyd Austin accountable for his dereliction of duty.

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

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After Arrest, Trump Perfectly Explains Why They Want Him Locked Up

By Casey Harper (The Center Square)

President Donald Trump called the charges against him unprecedented election interference in a speech Tuesday night from his Mar-a-Lago home, just hours after pleading not guilty to nearly three dozen felony charges during his arraignment in New York City.

“I never thought anything like this could happen in America,” Trump told his supporters at his Florida residence. “The only crime that I have committed is to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it.”

RELATED: With Assist From Manhattan DA, Trump Once Again Enjoys United GOP Support

Trump faces 34 charges related to allegations that he paid hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels through a lawyer seven years ago and covered it up as a legal expense before being elected president. Trump offered his “not guilty” plea during his arraignment before Judge Juan Merchan in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Trump began his speech by pointing to the string of investigations and impediments that Democrats and federal law enforcement threw at him, drawing a comparison between the unfounded accusations like the debunked Russian dossier and the current legal prosecution.

“From the beginning, the Democrats spied on my campaign, remember that?” Trump said. “They attacked me with an onslaught of fraudulent investigations. Russia, Russia Russia. Ukraine… Impeachment hoax number one, impeachment hoax number two. The illegal and unconstitutional raid on Mar-a-Lago right here.”

Trump was impeached twice by the then Democrat-controlled U.S. House during his presidency, but was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate both times.

Trump also pointed to media reports that showed federal law enforcement working with social media companies to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story, which Trump said “exposes the Biden family as criminals” and would have swayed the election in his favor.

“And we remember the 51 intelligence agents who said Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation,” Trump said, pointing to an open letter signed by those agents making that assertion. “Russian disinformation, remember that? And that was all confirmed strongly by the FBI, when they all knew that it wasn’t Russian disinformation.”

RELATED: Trump Campaign Warns Gag Order Would ‘Backfire’

The indictment was unsealed after Tuesday’s arraignment. It alleges Trump falsified business records related to the hush money scheme and can be read in full here.

Trump blasted New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Letisha James, attorney general for New York, both of whom promised to go after Trump while on the campaign trail.

“We have a Trump-hating judge with a Trump-hating wife whose daughter worked for Kamala Harris and now receives money from the Biden-Harris campaign, and a lot of it,” Trump said.

Trump’s speech hit political notes as well. He attacked President Joe Biden on the Afghanistan withdrawal, the border, the loss of energy independence, rising crime, and more.

Trump surrendered to New York Police before the arraignment after a grand jury voted to indict him last week, the first time a current or former president has been charged with a crime. Trump is also the 2024 Republican frontrunner for president.

During his speech, Trump also blasted the the investigation into his possession of classified documents from his time at president, arguing that he had the power as president to declassify them. He said Biden had classified documents as well from his time in the Obama administration but did not have the power to declassify as vice president.

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

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Illegal Immigration is Surging… Across the Northern Border, Now

By Bethany Blankley (The Center Square)

Federal agents patrolling the U.S.-Canadian border in Vermont, upstate New York and New Hampshire continue to apprehend record numbers of foreign nationals illegally entering the U.S. from Canada.

Last month, Border Patrol agents reported 816 apprehensions and 371 gotaways, according to preliminary data obtained by a Border Patrol agent on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. The data only represents Border Patrol data and excludes Office of Field Operations data, meaning the numbers are likely higher. Agents also reported 19 people they identified who illegally entered the U.S. but turned back to Canada.

RELATED: Cruz to Mayorkas: ‘If You Had Integrity, You Would Resign’

These are the highest numbers ever recorded in Swanton Sector history.

The sector encompasses 24,000 square miles, which in addition to all of Vermont’s border, includes six upstate New York counties and three New Hampshire counties. It spans 295 miles of international boundary with the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, of which 203 miles is on land. The remaining 92 miles of border fall primarily along the St. Lawrence River. The sector is the first international land boundary east of the Great Lakes.

This sector has consistently led northern border sectors in reported apprehensions and gotaways. Last month, Chief Patrol Agent Robert Garcia said, “In just over 5 months, we have apprehended more individuals than the last three (3) Fiscal Years combined. The current rate of illicit cross-border activity is unprecedented for Swanton Sector.”

He also said over a 12-day-period in March, agents “encountered 28 children under the age of 14, the youngest only five months old.”

“Illegal entry along the northern border is dangerous” he added, saying illegally bringing in the “vulnerable population” of children “is reprehensible.”

Garcia also described how concerned citizens help Border Patrol agents save the lives of foreign nationals disoriented by subfreezing temperatures. In one incident that occurred last month, for example, Champlain Station agents responded to residents’ calls about a woman wandering in the snow. Agents searched the area in question and found a female Mexican citizen who’d illegally crossed the border into the U.S. from Canada that morning when it was 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

The woman was observed shuffling shoeless through snowy fields and ditches near the outskirts of Champlain, New York, using a tree branch for support. One of her feet was bare, swollen and bloodied. She also appeared to be disoriented and incoherent. Border Patrol agents radioed Emergency Medical Services and team-carried her to a warm patrol vehicle.

RELATED: Why Hasn’t the GOP Yet Walked the Walk on Its Mayorkas Impeachment Talk?

“Temperature extremes and the associated hazards have done practically nothing to deter cross-border human traffic in our area,” Raymond Bresnahan, acting patrol agent in charge of the Champlain Station, said in a statement of the incident. “Stations in Swanton Sector – Champlain in particular – have responded to historic levels of illicit border crossings that have trended upwards since October 2021.”

Due to the severity of her frostbite injuries, the Mexican woman was transported to Champlain Valley Physician’s Hospital in Plattsburgh, New York, and later transferred to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington at taxpayer expense.

In another instance, Border Patrol agents have helped U.S. attorneys prosecute human smugglers. Last month, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont announced the sentencing of a New Jersey man to 14 months in prison for “conspiring to transport foreign nationals in furtherance of their illegal entry into the United States.” He was also required to serve three years of supervised release after he completes his prison term.

The sentencing was announced March 23 after Jose Alvarez, 31, of Trenton, New Jersey, pleaded guilty. He’d been arrested last September near East Berkshire, Vermont, after he picked up four Guatemalan citizens who entered the U.S. illegally. Three of the Guatemalans said they each expected to pay $2,000 to $3,000 to Alvarez or his associates as a fee to be smuggled into the U.S.

“Alvarez admitted to soliciting others to engage in the transportation of foreign nationals and to coordinating payment and pick up logistics with other members of the conspiracy,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

U.S. Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest credited Border Patrol agents “for their investigation and apprehension of Alvarez and their continued efforts to prevent the exploitation of foreign nationals by human-smuggling organizations.”

RELATED: MAGA Rep. Jackson Demands Kamala Harris be Removed as ‘Border Czar’

Last month, Garcia said encounter data showed a “persistent upward trend despite average temperatures below freezing and greater snowfall than January. Dauntless in the face of all obstacles, our Border Patrol agents stand against the breach of our 295-mi. of border.”

In January, Swanton Sector agents apprehended more people than they did in “12 preceding years of January totals combined,” he said. “Prior to January, Swanton Sector experienced an uninterrupted 7-month streak of sustained encounter increases – part of an upward trend dating back to the beginning of FY22.”

While the number of apprehensions pale in comparison to southern border apprehensions, they represent a 743% increase from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022, and an 846% increase from Oct. 1, 2022, to Jan. 31, 2023, comparative to those timeframes last year.

Once official March data is released, they’re expected to surpass these records.

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

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Border Patrol Chiefs To Testify Before House Committee After First Being Blocked By Mayorkas

By Bethany Blankley (The Center Square)

U.S. Border Patrol chiefs will testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability on Tuesday after they were first blocked by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas from doing so.

Last month, Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer, R-Kentucky, sent a letter to Mayorkas stating the committee would be investigating the “Biden Administration’s creation of and failure to resolve the worst border crisis in American history. … The American people deserve answers about [DHS’] role in undermining Customs and Border Protection agents’ efforts to secure the southern border.”

Four Border Patrol agents overseeing southern border sectors were called to testify: Chiefs Jason Owens, Gregory Bovino, Gloria Chavez, and Acting Chief Patricia McGurk-Daniel. Initially, two were cleared to testify by Mayorkas and two weren’t.

Comer then threatened to use the “compulsory process” to require them to testify. By Jan. 31, Mayorkas agreed to all four testifying and Comer sent another letter to him saying, “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initially sought to prevent Congress from hearing invaluable testimony from Chief Patrol Agents, believing that DHS’s internal protocols superseded Congressional oversight prerogatives. I am pleased that the DHS is no longer taking such a position, and will make available as witnesses” all four agents.

Comer last week told reporters at the National Press Club that the committee requested they testify about “the worst offenses with respect to illegal border crossings are occurring, just to come before the committee. … We need to hear from people on the front lines” to ask their advice and how Congress can help them do their jobs.

Comer’s initial Jan. 19 letter to Mayorkas requested documents and copies of internal communications from DHS including data on border crossers released by DHS into the U.S. and DHS’ plan to terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), otherwise known as “Remain in Mexico,” over which Texas sued. A federal court halted the administration’s plan to terminate it although Texas maintains the administration isn’t following the court order.

The letter also requires Mayorkas to provide information about “the effect of historic numbers of illegal border crossings on retention rates, staffing, recruitment and morale among” Border Patrol agents. The National Border Patrol Council, the union representing them, has argued that under this administration more agents are retiring and recruitment and morale is at an all-time historic low.

Comer also requested all documents and information about an ICE memorandum Mayorkas issued in September 2021, which drastically altered enforcement policies. Texas and Louisiana sued to stop it, supported by 19 states that filed a brief with the Supreme Court.

“President [Joe] Biden’s radical open borders agenda has ignited the worst border crisis in American history,” Comer said in a statement last month when he announced the hearing. “The Biden Administration’s deliberate actions are fueling human smuggling, stimulating drug cartel operations, enabling deadly drugs such as fentanyl to flow into American communities, and encouraging illegal immigrants to flout U.S. immigration laws. … Republicans will hold the Biden Administration accountable for this ongoing humanitarian, national security, and public health crisis that has turned every town into a border town.”

In early January, Biden said on his first day in office he sent to Congress a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would extend amnesty to a wide range of people illegally in the U.S. He also announced DHS’ new mobile app that allows foreign nationals to file asylum claims remotely from anywhere in the world as well as expanding the parole process and creating a new visa process. Multiple states also sued over the parole and visas policies, which they argue are illegal.

The hearing comes after Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz testified in a case brought by Florida that Biden policies led to increased illegal crossings and one of his emails revealed the administration’s plan to release people en masse into the U.S. once Title 42 was lifted.

Since Biden’s been in office, over 5 million people from over 150 countries have illegally entered the U.S. while Mayorkas has consistently maintained the southern border is closed. A record 3.3 million people were apprehended or reported evading capture by law enforcement in fiscal 2022, according to Border Patrol data obtained by The Center Square, including nearly 1.8 million in Texas alone.

Several House Republicans have called for Mayorkas’ impeachment; two Republicans from Texas and Arizona each filed separate articles of impeachment. Mayorkas says he isn’t resigning and has blamed the previous administration for the problems he says he’s inherited.

The NBPC disagrees, tweeting on Monday: “Two years ago we ceased to have any semblance of a functioning border. It’s just an out-of-control free-for-all … a disaster zone of massive human misery, death and lawlessness. How much longer can this country continue to absorb millions of illegal aliens?

“Everyday thousands more illegal aliens enter our country by crashing our border between ports of entry. Has Biden thought about how many millions he’s going to shuttle in? Is he even aware enough to realize that many of these people can’t be ID’d and no way to check records?”

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

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Mayorkas Falsely Claimed Border is ‘Closed’ Ahead of Biden Trip to El Paso

By Bethany Blankley (The Center Square)

Ahead of President Biden’s first trip to the southern border on Sunday in El Paso, Texas, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas again said the U.S. southern border is closed.

His comments came despite thousands of illegal border crossers pouring into the city, filling the airport, sidewalks, homeless shelters. Over the past few days, many were bused out of town and otherwise cleared out ahead of the president’s visit.

RELATED: Theater: El Paso Cleared Out Illegal Immigrant Camps Prior to Biden’s Border Visit

On Jan. 5, after the president announced his expanded immigration plan, Mayorkas announced the Department of Homeland Security was preparing for the end of the public health authority Title 42 after its challenges in court end.

Mayorkas said, “Title 42 or not, the border is not open. We will continue to fully enforce our immigration laws in a safe, orderly and humane manner. Individuals without a legal basis to remain in the United States will be subject to expulsion under Title 42 or removal under Title 8.”

Mayorkas also said the crisis at the southern border was “because our immigration system is broken, outdated, and in desperate need of reform. The laws we enforce have not been updated for decades. It takes four or more years to conclude the average asylum case, immigration judges have a backlog of more than 1.7 million cases, and we have more than 11 undocumented people in our country, many of whom work in the shadows …”

He mentioned that there are 2.5 million Venezuelans living in Columbia and 1.5 million living in Peru. Over 350,000 Haitians are living in Brazil and Chile and the number of Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica has more than doubled over the past year.

He made the remarks as the number of apprehensions of illegal entries by Venezuelans, Nicaraguans and Haitians have surged in the U.S. in the past few months and after more than 5 million foreign nationals were apprehended or evaded capture from law enforcement. This includes over 3.3 million in fiscal 2022, of which nearly 1.8 million occurred in Texas alone.

The El Paso Sector, which includes two west Texas counties and all of New Mexico, has experienced a surge in the last two months, breaking all-time records.

RELATED: Another Record: Nearly 314,000 Apprehensions, Gotaways at Southern Border in December

In December, agents apprehended over 55,700 people and reported nearly 33,000 gotaways, according to preliminary CBP data obtained by The Center Square.

In November, they apprehended more than 53,000 illegal foreign nationals in the sector and reported over 24,000 gotaways.

The number of people crossing the board every month are greater than the individual populations of all but four cities and all but five of counties in New Mexico, according to 2022 Census data analyzed by The Center Square.

The record numbers increased after Mayorkas reversed several policies, including releasing illegal foreign nationals into the U.S. and limiting ICE enforcement of detention and deportation policies. Nineteen attorneys general filed a brief with the Supreme Court over them; Florida heads to trial Monday in another lawsuit in which the plaintiffs argue the administration is continuing to violate federal law.

Multiple members of Congress have called for Mayorkas to be impeached; multiple attorneys general, led by Florida, have called for him to resign.

Last November, U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., now Speaker of the House, said “if Secretary Mayorkas does not resign, House Republicans will investigate every order, every action, and every failure will determine whether we can begin impeachment inquiry.”

On Sunday morning, when asked to respond, Mayorkas told ABC News This Week he was joining the president in El Paso and at the North American Leaders Summit in Mexico City on Monday, where world leaders will discuss “the security of the homeland.” When asked if he planned to resign he said: “I do not. I’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’re going to do it,” according to Fox News.

RELATED: State of Emergency in El Paso as Border Patrol Reports Record Illegal Entries

On Saturday, Mayorkas reiterated his “secure border” language in an interview with CNN anchor Poppy Harlow. She asked him, “Border officials have been consistently telling” a CNN correspondent “they feel abandoned by this administration, by the federal government. So why has it taken two years for President Biden to go to the southern border?”

Mayorkas replied, “We have been dedicating our efforts to the situation at the border since day one. We are incredibly proud of our frontline personnel who are tirelessly and selflessly dedicated to the mission. The president knows the border very well. … He is going to see the border not for the first time in his public service career this Sunday.”

The National Border Patrol Council, the union representing BP agents, has argued the Biden administration, which defunded CBP enforcement mechanisms while sending $45 billion more to Ukraine, said the administration “doesn’t want more money for DHS to enforce laws and deport people. They only want more money to process more people so they can release more people. Don’t be fooled by their propaganda.”

The union also said, “No administration in modern history of this country has done more damage, killed the morale of Border Patrol agents and unleashed death, destruction, rapes, murders and mayhem at our border like the Biden administration.”

In a statement it issued on Saturday, it said, “As Biden and Harris sit around DC patting themselves on the back and lying about the border, things in the real world continue to deteriorate at record-setting levels. Rampant lawlessness, dead bodies piling up and human suffering are not part of the gated fantasyland they live in.”

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

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Experts Warn of Major Post-Title 42 Border Surge

By Cameron Arcand (The Center Square)

As Title 42 – a COVID-19 policy that allowed border authorities to turn away asylum seekers – ends next week, Arizona officials are concerned about the consequences of allowing more people to remain in the United States after crossing the southern border illegally.

The Department of Homeland Security said that the order would no longer be in effect on Dec. 21, as it was originally intended to be a way to remove migrants based on fear of COVID-19 spread.

RELATED: Record Number of Border Apprehensions, Gotaways in November

There are concerns that an even greater influx of migrants will strain authorities and border communities. Many Trump-era border policies were removed by President Joe Biden, but this is one of the few policies that’s remained.

Jobe Dickinson, president of the Border Security Alliance, said in a statement that Title 42 is a necessary “mitigation strategy” that was “heavily relied upon for nearly 3 years.”

“With the forthcoming termination of this policy, the Border Security Alliance believes there could be another surge of illegal immigrants who will take advantage of our flawed border policies,” Dickinson said. “We urge policy makers to work to fix the current and anticipated surge immediately by going back to a ‘Remain in Mexico’ program for asylum seekers.”

RELATED: Republicans Call for Impeachment of Biden’s DHS Chief Over Border Invasion

Meanwhile, the state government is in an ongoing battle with the Biden administration over the state’s decision to use shipping containers as barriers in the Yuma sector of the border.

“The number one public safety risk and environmental harm has come from inaction by the federal government to secure our border,” Anni Foster, general counsel of the Arizona governor’s office, said in a recent letter to the U.S. Justice Department and U.S. Attorney’s Office.

There were over 2.3 million border encounters at the southern border in the fiscal year 2022, according to Customs and Border Protection data. In Arizona alone, there were over 500,000 border encounters, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

RELATED: Texas Gov. Abbott Calls for Investigation into Groups Assisting With Illegal Entry into US

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

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