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.

The post House Republicans Tell Mayorkas He’s Lying, Should Resign appeared first on The Political Insider.

Democrats border report seeks to undercut argument for Mayorkas impeachment

House Democrats on Friday released a report that includes segments of interviews over the last three months with border patrol sector chiefs they say undermine Republican arguments there is a crisis at the border.

The report is an effort to undercut a potential GOP impeachment inquiry against Homeland Security Secretary Alejando Mayorkas, and to counter narratives pushed by GOP leaders, who responded that Democrats had “cherry-picked” information.

“Democratic Committee staff is providing this memorandum to share the perspectives of Chief Patrol Agents which Republicans have chosen to ignore because they contradict the false and misleading claims promoted in order to justify efforts to impeach Secretary Mayorkas,” Democrats from both the House Oversight Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee concluded in the report.

“During their transcribed interviews, the Chief Patrol Agents presented assessments of border security unequivocally contrary to this Republican narrative. Chief Patrol Agents disagreed that a crisis currently exists at the southwest border and, in their own words, described their operations to obtain border security as successful.”

In one section of the report, Democrats take aim on GOP claims that Mayorkas is “intentionally” seeking disruption at the border, with staff asking multiple agents if they had ever been instructed by the secretary to stop securing the border, a question that garnered repeated nos.

Democrats said agents have “never received orders or directives to cease operations to secure the southwest border, and policies implemented have remained consistent with the law enforcement duties of U.S. Border Patrol agents.”

The memo also reviews other policy decisions made by the Biden administration, including the rescission of Title 42, which has led to a decline in figures at the border. 

Republicans have been critical of the change in procedure, which reverts back to processing under Title 8, which includes consequences for improperly crossing the border.

Officers interviewed by the committee discussed the process for checking the background of those apprehended, something Democrats said countered Republican assertions that terrorists or those with criminal records could enter the country.

“Each Chief Patrol Agent explained that U.S. Border Patrol continues to screen individuals it apprehends for criminal backgrounds or suspected ties to terrorist organizations and processed accordingly. In particular, the Chief Patrol Agents made clear that biometric data from apprehended individuals is screened against American law enforcement databases and, in some instances, even information from foreign governments,” Democrats wrote.

“Apprehended individuals who are found to possess a criminal history are not unilaterally released into the United States without diligent consultation with other law enforcement agencies.”

Agents interviewed also praised the rollout of staff designated to help with processing migrants, something they say has aided in getting officers into the field.

A GOP border bill this year barred funding for any such processing staff.

“They’re processing individuals, helping to not only do that, but they might be remote processing, things of that nature, to help us make sure that we’re having the data input that we need, reduces the amount of agents that are needed in our processing areas,” Big Bend Sector Chief Patrol Agent Sean McGoffin told the committees in April.

“And I think we’ve been very successful with that. We’re currently about—roughly 16 percent of our agents are actually processing as a whole. So that really helps our morale.” 

Republicans responded by releasing different portions of the interviews, including segments that stressed the need for consequences for those who cross the border, something that has been aided by the return of Title 8.

They also included segments with agents describing current levels of migration at historic highs.

“Today’s Democrat memorandum manipulates the facts contained in over 850 pages of testimony from Chief Patrol Agents stationed along the border to cover up the Biden border crisis,” House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) and House Homeland Security Chair Mark Green (R-Tenn.) said in a statement.

“In reality, Chief Patrol Agents have detailed to our committees the historically high levels of illegal border crossings, migrant deaths, rescues of migrants put in peril by cartel smuggling organizations, gotaways, and assaults against our heroic Border Patrol agents.”

House GOP inches closer to Mayorkas impeachment amid discord in conference

House Republicans inched closer this week toward impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, officially launching an investigation that would serve as the basis for any inquiry.

But conservative supporters of the effort still face enormous hurdles, including a reluctance of leadership to take such a drastic step and the continued opposition from more moderate lawmakers in the GOP conference — barriers that even the loudest Mayorkas critics have been forced to acknowledge. 

On Wednesday, Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee said they would review Mayorkas’s performance through a five-phase plan, which Chairman Mark Green (R-Tenn.) said could be completed in a matter of 11 or 12 weeks.

“His policies have resulted in a humanitarian crisis this country has never seen,” Green said at a press conference.  

“Today's hearing will begin the process of digging into all of the details. The cause and effect of Alejandro Mayorkas’s dereliction of duty. I hope the American people will listen intently. I hope the press will report this, honestly. I hope the president of the United States, the commander in chief charged with the security and protection of this country, will listen. He can't possibly know of all of these failures of Mayorkas and have not fired him already.”

It’s a process that faces a complex path in the House — and one that’s already highlighted several layers of division within the GOP conference. Not only is there discord between impeachment supporters and opponents, but there’s also growing tension among Mayorkas’s most vocal critics, all of whom seem to want to play a prominent role in the effort to oust him. 

“We don't have the votes,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said Tuesday. Asked what would change the minds of the Republican opponents, he offered a biting criticism of his centrist colleagues.  

“An embrace of logic and reason,” he said.  

Green’s presser was followed by a hearing titled “Open Borders, Closed Case: Secretary Mayorkas’ Dereliction of Duty on the Border Crisis.”

Democrats argued the hearing’s name alone shows Republicans have already reached a conclusion on whether to take the dramatic step of impeaching a cabinet secretary — an action not seen since the 1870s.

“You may have a difference of opinion as to how the United States should process our asylum applicants. But the notion that that difference of a policy opinion would be the basis for a quote unquote, ‘case closed’ that Secretary Mayorkas is violating his duty, is preposterous and it is not any basis for impeachment,” said Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.), who before entering Congress worked as lead counsel for the first impeachment inquiry against former President Trump.

The move, six months into GOP leadership of the House, follows wrangling within the conference over how speedily to pursue the topic.

While a slew of lawmakers introduced impeachment resolutions days after the contentious vote to give the gavel to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the most recent effort was offered by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a sign of discontent among those eager to speed ahead.

It also comes as border numbers have dropped in the weeks following the May lifting of a policy that allowed the U.S. to quickly deny entry to would-be asylum seekers, bucking widespread predictions of a surge of migrants. The repeal of that policy, however, was paired with the reintroduction of consequences for those caught wrongly crossing the border.

“The number of Border Patrol encounters have plummeted by 70 percent since the Biden administration ended Title 42 last month. The number of overall border encounters have dropped by 50 percent in that time, due in large part to [Homeland Security's] hard work under Secretary Mayorkas’s leadership,” ranking member Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said during the hearing.

“Calling a hearing and saying ‘case closed’ before you’ve heard any testimony is not legitimate oversight. ... It’s about House Republican leadership catering to its most extreme MAGA members, who want to impeach someone — anyone at all. It’s about trying to make good on GOP backroom deals to elect a Speaker, raise the debt ceiling and stave off a mutiny in the Republican ranks.”

The House Homeland Security Committee doesn’t have the power to ignite an impeachment inquiry. That task falls to the House Judiciary Committee.

Green has cast the investigation as an effort that will be handed off to the other panel and ultimately brought to fruition by Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). 

The firebrand Georgia congresswoman, however, offered her impeachment resolution with a tweet that included an emoji of a slice of cake, a reference to earlier comments that the debt ceiling package would be more appealing if it included “dessert” like an impeachment of Mayorkas or FBI Director Christopher Wray. 

The move was a reflection of impatience from some in the GOP, even as McCarthy has largely stuck to comments he made while visiting the border late last year stressing the need to investigate. 

“I know people are very frustrated with [Mayorkas],” McCarthy told CNN last month, but added that any impeachment process shouldn’t be pursued “for political reasons.”

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), former head of the far-right Freedom Caucus, suggested the Speaker is moving closer toward backing the impeachment effort. 

"McCarthy has loosened up on that. Whereas quite some time ago he was a no, now he’s kinda saying — kinda saying — yes,” Biggs said. Other reluctant Republicans are also shifting, he said. 

“There are people who were an absolute ‘no’ on it even a few weeks ago, and now told me that they're moveable,” he said. “There's probably two or three people that I'm trying to work on, see if I can move them my way. And if those two or three come along, I think then we're ready to go.”

Green sidestepped questions over whether the caucus would be able to secure the votes to impeach Mayorkas. 

“I would say it’s intuitively obvious to the casual observer, that Republicans are individualists and we think independently, we’re not robots being told by a Speaker how to vote,” he said in a nod to the standstill on the House floor led by a group of far-right members who stalled a vote on a GOP bill on gas stoves as a way to voice frustration with McCarthy's handling of the debt ceiling. 

“And so, there are many people with differences of opinions about this. And, you know, I'm in a leadership position, and from my leadership position, the direction of our committee is to get to the facts.”

The Department of Homeland Security has pushed back on GOP arguments and has largely blamed Congress for issues at the border.

“The immigration system has been terribly broken and outdated for decades. That is something about which everyone agrees, and it is my hope that they take that problem, and they fix it once and for all. In the meantime, within a broken system, we are doing everything that we can to increase its efficiency, to provide humanitarian relief when the law permits and to also deliver an enforcement consequence when the law dictates,” Mayorkas said earlier this year during an appearance on MSNBC.

“That is exactly what we are doing, and as far as I am concerned, I will continue to do that with tremendous pride with the people with whom I work."  

Green said his five-point plan includes investigations into cartels as well as the financial cost associated with migration.

“The guy has got to go,” Green said.

“We're going to hold him accountable. And if the president picks another guy that does this kind of stuff, we'll do what we have to do there too.”

Greene plans to file articles of impeachment against Biden

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) announced plans to file articles of impeachment against President Biden on Thursday, alleging he has violated his oath of office in not securing the country’s borders and protecting national security. 

Greene said at a press conference this will be the “first set” of articles she introduces against Biden, whom she said has purposefully failed to fulfill his responsibilities of the presidency.

“It is with the highest amount of solemnity that I announce my intention to introduce articles of impeachment today on the head of this America-last executive branch, that has been working since Jan. 20, 2021, to systematically destroy this country, the president of the United States, Joseph Robinette Biden,” Greene said.

Greene made a similar announcement two days ago regarding her plans to introduce articles of impeachment against FBI Director Christopher Wray and Matthew Graves, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

Greene said she has also introduced articles of impeachment against Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.

The White House called Greene's plan a "stunt," noting Biden is focused on "preventing House Republicans’ default that would crash the economy."

“Is there a bigger example of a shameless sideshow political stunt than a trolling impeachment attack by one of the most extreme MAGA members in Congress over ‘national security’ while she actively demands to defund the FBI and even said she ‘would’ve been armed’ and ‘would have won’ the January 6 insurrection, if only she’d been in charge of it?" said Ian Sams, White House spokesman for oversight and investigations.

Greene initially introduced articles of impeachment against Biden on the first day of his presidency. She also filed articles against Garland in August following the search of former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago property for the classified and sensitive documents taken there. Neither advanced in the House.

The Georgia Republican and ally of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Biden has refused to enforced immigration laws and secure the border, "deliberately" compromising U.S. national security. She said he has allowed migrants to "invade" the country while depriving border control agents of the resources and policies they need to perform their duties.

Greene said Biden has allowed fentanyl to "flood" into the country and kill Americans every day.

She also slammed the administration over its plan to direct Customs and Border Protection to release migrants into the U.S. without a set court date or way to track them. Under the plan, migrants need to check in with an app until they are given a court date to appear.

Greene said it amounts to "catch-and-release," allowing the migrants to be released instead of being held in custody until their court date.

"His policies, directives and statements surrounding the southern border have violated our laws and destroyed our country," she said. "Biden has blatantly violated his constitutional duty, and he is a direct threat to our national security."

Article II of the Constitution states that the president and other U.S. officials can be removed from office through impeachment and conviction on "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

Greene said she wants to take time to gather cosponsors on her impeachment resolutions. She avoided directly answering a question on what exact charges she would file against Biden.

She said she discussed her plans to file the impeachment articles with other members of Republican leadership and said they did not ask her not to move forward.

She said she is introducing the articles because a majority the "base" of Republican voters and other Americans outside it agree with impeaching these officials, describing it as "the right thing to do."

"There's never any consequences for anyone in the federal government when regular American citizens face consequences all the time, and I'm introducing these articles because this is what people are demanding," Greene said.

Mayorkas has faced intense criticism from many Republicans over the situation at the southern border, which experienced a record number of migrant crossings in recent months. House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) called for Mayorkas's impeachment last week.

Greene alleges Wray and Garland have turned the FBI and Justice Department into Biden's "personal police force" to prosecute the administration's political opponents. She claimed that those who participated in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection were mostly peaceful, but Garland has still pursued them. A bipartisan Senate report found last year that seven people died related to the attack on the Capitol that day.

Greene said Wray prioritizes his own party above performing his job, wrongly identifying the Republican Wray as a Democrat. He has been director of the FBI since August 2017 and was nominated by former President Trump.

She said she is filing impeachment articles against Graves, the U.S. attorney, over his prosecutions of Jan. 6 defendants, which she said have continued while he has declined to prosecute 67 percent of people arrested by Washington, D.C., police last year.

"That affects people in our nation's capital, just regular innocent people that live and work here. I think as our conference learns more and more on this, they'll understand it," she said.

Greene said employees are fired from their jobs if they are corrupt or are not adequately serving their employers. She said all five officials are corrupt and unfit to hold office, so they must be impeached.

Updated at 12:04 p.m.

Mayorkas on GOP impeachment efforts: ‘I am focused on the work in front of us’ 

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas during an interview on Sunday waved off concerns about a potential impeachment, emphasizing that he is "focused on the work in front of us."

"I am focused on the work in front of us meeting the challenge, not only with respect to the southern border, but meeting the challenge of ... the cyber threat from cyber criminals and adverse foreign nations states," Mayorkas told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union."

"I am focused on the increasing severity and frequency of extreme weather events," he added. "I am focused on the adverse actions of the People's Republic of China, North Korea, Iran, Russia. I am focused on the work of the Department of Homeland Security. I will continue to focus on that work throughout my tenure."

Mayorkas is facing numerous calls for his impeachment by House Republicans over his handling of the U.S. border. The House Homeland Security Committee grilled Mayorkas last month, focusing on a 2006 law that requires a standard of perfection at the border.

Title 42 - a pandemic era policy that allowed for the rapid expulsion of asylum-seekers - expired last week, prompting concerns that a surge of migrants would result at the border. Instead, Mayorkas said on Sunday that authorities seen a 50 percent drop in encounters at the border in the days since the rule expired.

The Memo: Texas killing sparks outrage from Biden’s border critics

A horrific mass killing in Texas has opened new sores in the national debate over illegal immigration and crime.

Five people, including a young boy whose age has been reported as 8 or 9, were killed Friday in Cleveland, Texas. The shooting in the small community about 45 miles north of Houston happened after neighbors reportedly told a man to stop shooting in his yard and he became enraged. 

The alleged shooter has been named as Francisco Oropeza, 38. As of Monday afternoon, law enforcement agencies have been unable to apprehend Oropeza, despite a massive manhunt.

The case has taken on political power for reasons beyond the gruesome nature of the killing.

Oropeza is a Mexican national who appears to have been in the United States illegally. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have confirmed that he was deported on at least four previous occasions stretching back more than a decade.

His previous deportations, those officials said, took place in March 2009, September 2009, January 2012 and July 2016.

That record, and the terrible crime of which he stands accused, has outraged those who want a stricter border policy.

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents rank-and-file Border Patrol agents, noted that seeking to illegally reenter the United States having previously been deported is a felony.

“Had we prosecuted him for that felony, he would not have been able to kill” his alleged victims, Judd said.

Judd also made a wider point about border policy under President Biden.

“When you hear people like [Homeland Security] Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas say the border is not open, you have to look at this particular case … If somebody was able to reenter this country five different times despite being deported, that clearly shows the border is, in fact, open.”

Liberal advocates hit back, arguing that, historically, immigrants commit crime at lower rates than native-born Americans — and that attempts to draw a cause-and-effect line between immigration policy and the latest killing are raw demagoguery.

It’s a point that finds support from some independent observers.

Rhetoric linking illegal immigration and violent crime “has been used for a long time,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University.

“None of the social science data confirms that is true and it quite often shows the opposite — that neighborhoods with a lot of immigration are safer,” said Zelizer. “But politically it has been very powerful. It creates the idea of an enemy coming from outside who is now inside.”

The political battle is only growing more intense.

“This illegal alien brutally murdered 5 individuals in an ‘execution-style’ shooting,” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) tweeted Monday. “He was previously deported and has been arrested numerous times. Why was he in our country roaming around freely?”

Biggs called for the impeachment of Mayorkas.

Kari Lake, the defeated GOP candidate in last November’s Arizona gubernatorial election, tweeted, “How do we continue to let these criminals into the country?”

At Monday’s media briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre characterized the events in Cleveland as “yet another shocking, horrific act of gun violence.” 

Jean-Pierre noted that while President Biden was “praying” for those affected, “the president believes prayers alone are not enough.” 

The press secretary noted Biden’s desire for Congress to pass stricter gun-control legislation — a long-held wish that has almost no chance of being fulfilled anytime soon.

Continuing the political back-and-forth, the Republican National Committee tweeted within minutes of Jean-Pierre’s opening remarks that she did “not mention” that Oropeza is “an illegal immigrant who has been deported FIVE TIMES.”

The atrocity in Texas arises at an especially febrile time when it comes to debates about the border.

Encounters between unauthorized migrants and Customs and Border Protection agents at the southwestern border hit their highest figure ever recorded last December, at more than 252,000. 

The figure declined significantly in January and February, to fewer than 160,000 in each month. But in March, the most recent month for which data is available, those encounters rose again, to almost 192,000.

It is widely expected that those numbers will surge once Title 42 ends in less than two weeks. That Trump-era policy, continued under Biden, was used to quickly expel migrants and is expected to end on May 11.

Immigration has long been one of Biden’s weakest political issues and Republicans are sure to want to press their advantage on the topic as the presidential campaign heats up. 

In a Reuters/Ipsos poll in mid-April, just 27 percent of Americans approved of Biden’s handling of immigration — tying for the lowest approval number in any of the 11 issues tested in that survey.

Advocates of a stricter immigration policy see the shooting in Texas as evidence of how badly the current policy is falling.

“It’s just another example of what happens when we fail to enforse our laws, when you fail to enforce the border,” said Ira Mehlman, the media director of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which favors a stricter immigration system. “Virtually nobody is deported anymore.”

But Mehlman distanced himself from a controversial statement from the office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, which referred to the victims of the Cleveland shooting as “five illegal immigrants.”

“It doesn’t matter what the immigration states of the victims is,” Mehlman said. “Nobody should be killed for asking a guy to stop shooting in his backyard.”

The Memo is a reported column by Niall Stanage.

Where Did All the Biden Illegal Immigrants Go? Sanctuary Cities Like New York Are Only Part of the Answer

By James Varney for RealClearInvestigations

In New York City, if the newcomers aren’t put up at the luxury cruise terminal that served the QE2, they could get $700-a-night midtown hotel accommodations with iconic Manhattan viewsIn Chicago, they found themselves whisked to suburban lodgings. In Denver, officials refer to them discreetly as “guests” and you needn’t bother inquiring about their inns or addresses.  

The people enjoying these free digs aren’t privacy-conscious jet-setters, but the secrecy surrounding them might be comparable: They’re some of the millions of migrants who have illegally crossed into the U.S. since the Biden administration relaxed most border controls.

RELATED: Nearly 270,000 Apprehensions, Gotaways at Southern Border in March

No one knows exactly how many people have poured across the southwestern U.S. border since President Biden took office, or where they’ve gone since. The official number of encounters by Customs and Border Patrol stands at 5.2 million people, logged over the last two full federal fiscal years and fiscal 2023 through March. But that number is imprecise because it includes repeat encounters with the same people and omits the many who slipped into the country unnoticed by border agents.  

Under President Biden, the U.S. smashed past the 200,000 monthly encounters mark for the first time in July 2021 and it has repeatedly topped that record in the months since. By comparison, in fiscal 2020, which ended a month before Biden’s defeat of President Trump, the U.S. averaged 38,174 monthly encounters at the border, according to CBP figures.  

Earlier: Why Hasn’t the GOP Impeached Mayorkas Yet? 

Because of an official lack of transparency, all those people and the circumstances by which they have arrived and remained have made it hard to take stock of the historic influx. Through midnight flights and buses from the border to far-flung locales, the administration has made it difficult to identify where the migrants are now living and receiving services. Also unclear are the costs associated with the arrivals.  

But flares have been sent up – especially over immigrant sanctuary cities like New York, Denver and Chicago, which have long promised to house migrants. While those cities are providing housing and other services for a small fraction of the recent migrants, the costs are significant for these budget-strapped metropolises.

Denver plans to spend $20 million in the first six months of this year to provide housing to migrants. Officials say this works out to between $800 and $1,000 per week per person.   

In January the state of Illinois turned down Chicago’s request for more funds, saying it had already spent close to $120 million on its “asylum seeker emergency response” – or roughly $33,000 per migrant.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has asked for more than $500 million in federal aid, while pegging the city’s spending at between $2 billion and $3 billion.     

Other data points of the opaque costs of Biden-era illegal immigration include Massachusetts’ estimate that it will need $28 million to launch a program to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented residents. The state is seeking a share of the omnibus spending bill passed by Democrats in December 2022 when they controlled both houses of Congress, which included $800 million for cities grappling with the influx.  

RELATED: Biden to Open Up Medicaid, Obamacare to About 700,000 Illegal Immigrants

These numbers are incomplete in part because it is hard to separate the added cost of recent migrants from costs for the millions of undocumented immigrants who were in the country before the recent surge.  

A March study by the conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates that, after accounting for taxes paid by undocumented migrants, they cost taxpayers over $150 billion per year – a 30% increase since 2017.  

Yet FAIR acknowledges the problem of fixing costs has become more difficult, given the record-breaking numbers of illegal crossers in the past two and a half years and efforts by some government agencies to mask their spending.  

“We often had to grapple with a paucity of easily accessible official data,” the report notes. “Many state and federal entities do not publish detailed data that they collect, making it difficult to reliably separate illegal aliens from citizens of lawful immigrants. We have also encountered cases where the current administration has revoked or restricted documents published by previous administrations in order to reduce the visibility of data which shines a negative light on their immigration policy agenda.”

Those totals also involve far more than simple food and board. To arrive at its staggering sum, FAIR includes estimates of the costs in education, health care and law enforcement.  

“The irony is not only are these sanctuary jurisdictions turning to Washington with their hands out, but that they still refuse to join with governors like Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis in demanding that the federal government take decisive steps to stanch the influx of new migrants,” FAIR spokesman Ira Mehlman told RealClearInvestigations, referring to the Republican chief executives of Texas and Florida, respectively. “The obvious hypocrisy of declaring yourself a sanctuary jurisdiction while complaining about the costs and burdens associated with it are undeniable.”

Groups that favor more relaxed border security measures, such as the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights and the American Immigration Council, did not respond to RCI’s request for comment; the liberal Brookings Institution declined to comment. 

RELATED: Illegal Immigration is Surging… Across the Northern Border, Now

Cities housing many migrants have a hard time estimating costs. New York Mayor Adams has asked for more than $500 million in federal aid, while pegging the city’s spending one time at $2 billion and another time at $3 billion. Those are the sorts of bills New York has racked up putting what they call “asylum seekers” or “migrants” in hotels.

And Adams, whose requests sometimes include the claim “we are all in this together,” wants to spend even more. This month, he floated the idea of paying college tuition for illegal immigrants if they attend New York state schools outside the city.

Using Adams’ own number of some 40,000 illegal immigrants that New York City has foot the bills for, it means taxpayers are spending roughly $150,000 per person to host new arrivals. In March, City Hall scaled back its count of the number of its immigrants to 12,700, which meant the taxpayers’ were spending nearly $5 million a day to take care of them, according to a New York Post analysis.  

The Office of the New York City Public Advocate, which helps immigrants navigate the benefits available to them, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Adams declined to address questions about spending, pointing instead to various links the city maintains for immigrants and noting the city has expanded a New York County Supreme Court decision in 1981 regarding shelter for homeless people to cover immigrants.   

Whatever the current official number of illegal immigrants New York is dealing with it is but a fraction of those that have poured into various Texas communities along the border.   

Officials at El Paso’s City Hall, one of the ground zeroes in the illegal immigration crush, did not respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment on its spending. But Gov. Abbott said his Operation Lone Star, launched in March 2021, has “allocated more than $4 billion to do the federal government’s job and secure the border,” Abbott’s spokesman Andrew Mahaleris said.   

It was Abbott who began busing illegal immigrants to some of the sanctuary cities that declare themselves so welcoming, such as New York, Denver and Chicago.

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

“Texas began busing migrants to sanctuary cities last April to provide relief to our overrun and overwhelmed border communities,” Mahaleris said. “Mayors Adams, [Muriel] Bowser and [Lori] Lightfoot were all too happy to tout their sanctuary city statuses until Texas bused over 16,900 migrants, collectively, to their self-declared sanctuary. Instead of complaining about dealing with a fraction of the border crisis Texas communities see every day, these hypocrites should call on President Biden to take immediate action to secure the border – something the president continues failing to do.”  

Lightfoot, departing as mayor of Chicago after her defeat in February, first turned to Illinois for millions to help the Windy City cope with its several thousand illegal immigrants Texas provided. In January, however, the state turned her down, saying it had already spent close to $120 million on its “asylum seeker emergency response.”  

That response came last September when Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an “emergency disaster proclamation.” His proclamation and the words of other state leaders presented a schizophrenic picture in which they portray Illinois as a “welcoming beacon of hope” and complain they weren’t given “official advance warning.”

Most of the money Illinois spent – more than $61.5 million, or roughly $31,000 per immigrant – went to contracts with organizations or staff “who provided on site case management and other services at multiple locations.”  

Illinois dropped another $8 million on “interim housing,” nearly $4 million on “health screenings for asylum seekers, and more than $29 million on “hotel, transportation and housing costs,” according to their breakdown.  

Nowhere did Pritzker or Lightfoot question the wisdom of the Biden administration ‘s border policies, and there was no indication they understood the burdens that had been put on border cities and states. Instead, the unmistakable message was that if illegal immigrants were going to be sent where the “welcoming beacon” shone, other people should pay for it.

RELATED: Rio Grande Border Patrol Agents Assaulted While Apprehending Illegal Aliens

“They can say all that is for free, but now they’re finding out they can’t have a welfare society and an open border,” said Lora Reis, the director of the Border Security and Immigration Center at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Denver held a budget “transparency and equity” meeting earlier this month at which Chief Financial Officer Margaret Danuser said the city will have spent between $17 and $20 million on housing and other services for between 5,000 and 6,000 illegal immigrants between Dec. 2022 and this June. The city hoped to get federal taxpayers to reimburse it for $2.8 million, and a Colorado state fund for another $3.5 million.

Those figures show Denver spent about the same as Chicago at roughly $33,000 per immigrant, costs that are still far below New York City’s. 

“None of these sanctuary mayors or governors have ever asked for a secure border, it was always just, ‘feds, give us money!’” said Reis. “They can say all that for free, but they are finding out you can’t have a welfare system and an open border.”

Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.

The post Where Did All the Biden Illegal Immigrants Go? Sanctuary Cities Like New York Are Only Part of the Answer appeared first on The Political Insider.

Heated GOP grilling of Mayorkas leads to pledge to ‘dial the rhetoric down’

Republicans gave a preview Wednesday of a still materializing impeachment case against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, zeroing in on a 2006 law that requires a standard of perfection at the border.

But what started as a fiery hearing filled with attacks on Mayorkas ended with promises to tone down the rhetoric and move towards civility in the House Homeland Security Committee — a panel with numerous members who have pledged to remove the secretary from office.

The GOP on Wednesday repeatedly referenced the Secure Fence Act of 2006, a law that defines operational control as achieved when there is not a single unlawful entry of either migrants or drugs at the border. 

Chair Mark Green (R-Tenn.) and other Republicans played numerous clips of Mayorkas previously answering questions about whether he has maintained operational control of the border — a tactic that comes after Green reportedly told donors at a fundraiser to “get the popcorn” ready ahead of the hearing.

Green rattled off a series of policies rolled out under the Biden administration, including the rescission of some Trump-era policies, though the current administration has alienated immigration advocates by retaining others. 

“You have not secured our borders, Mr. Secretary, and I believe you've done so intentionally. There is no other explanation for the systematic dismantling and transformation of our border,” he said. 

Several Republicans on the committee, including Green, leveled a series of accusations against Mayorkas, using their full five minutes for speeches, without asking questions of Mayorkas or allowing him to respond.

“I have no interest in asking the secretary any questions because he obfuscates and lies,” said  Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) after arguing Mayorkas had “failed your country.”

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the top Democrat on the committee, defended Mayorkas, pointing to reporting from The New York Times about Green’s comments to donors.

“I was dismayed to see that speaking to a group of campaign contributors last week about today's hearing the Chairman said, and I quote, ‘Get the popcorn. It's going to be fun.’ I think that tells Americans all they need to know about the Republican agenda here,” Thompson said.

“They don't want solutions to homeland security challenges. They want to make a headline or photo opp. They want a political wedge issue and something to talk to their deep-pocketed donors about more than they want to work together to get things done.”

Green later said the article misquoted him. He did not specify how but detailed he has no power to impeach Mayorkas, noting such a move would fall to the House Judiciary Committee and that his role is limited to oversight.

Republicans used much of the hearing to dissect Mayorkas’s previous statements on operational control of the border.

Mayorkas has repeatedly maintained he has control of the border, but the GOP has seized on prior comments from Border Patrol Chief Raúl Ortiz who answered “no” when asked if the department was meeting the high standard set under the Secure Fence Act.

It was a line Green said “told the truth” about the situation at the border.

Mayorkas on Wednesday said he was previously cut off by lawmakers from giving nuance to earlier answers, arguing the law leaves much discretion to the secretary in determining how to manage the border while the standard itself has never been met.

“The Secure Fence Act provides that operational control means that not a single individual crosses the border illegally. And it's for that reason that prior secretaries and myself have said that under that definition, no administration has had operational control,” Mayorkas said.

“As I have testified under oath multiple times, we use a lens of reasonableness in defining operational control. Are we maximizing the resources that we have to deliver the most effective results? And under that definition, we are doing so very much to gain operational control.”

Democrats took turns defending Mayorkas.

Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.) accused Republicans of having “such short memories … with respect to the situation at the Southern border.” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) rattled off a list of Trump-era policies, including family separation, prompting Mayorkas to say they not only failed to achieve operational control but “disobeyed our values as a country.”

Thompson turned to the archives, citing comments from GOP lawmakers from when the Secure Fence Act was first passed, citing concerns over the standard it set, including Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), a member of the committee who worked on the legislation.

“When you put this number as a metric in the definition of operational control, you make it impossible to achieve operational control. Perfection shouldn't be the enemy of the good,” McCaul said at the time, according to a portion of the transcript read aloud by Thompson.

Republicans, however, took issue with Mayorakas’s explanation, arguing the secretary has no right to interpret the laws passed by Congress.

“Congress set an objective in law. You haven't pursued it,” said Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.).  “Who are you to displace the legal definition of operational control by this Congress in favor of pursuing one of your own invention?”

Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-N.Y.), who played a central role in the impeachment of then-President Trump, later pounced on Bishop’s phrasing.

“I have a little experience with impeachment and I can tell you, as well as everybody else, that there is no grounds for impeachment based on a policy dispute. And there is absolutely nothing that I've seen here today that amounts to a false statement under oath,” he said.

“In fact, Mr. Bishop, my colleague, in referencing operational control and that standard, stated himself that it is an objective. It is the objective of the Department of Homeland Security to have operational control and, as you pointed out, that is to allow no unlawful entry into this country. That, of course, is an impossible standard.”

Other Republicans sought to hold Mayorkas accountable with other methods.

One lawmaker brought a series of charts with multiple questions. Two others brought guests to the hearing, including parents of children that had died of a fentanyl overdose and the family of victims who died after a man carrying migrants crashed into their car while seeking to evade police in a high-speed chase. 

The committee’s proceedings came to an almost 20-minute standstill following comments from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) accusing Mayorkas of lying.

Green agreed to a motion from Democrats to take down her words, ultimately resulting in the loss of her speaking privileges during the hearing.

It was a complex turn of events given that many Republicans at prior points in the hearing accused Mayorkas of being dishonest before Congress, though none, as Greene did, labeled him a liar.

Still, the hearing ended on a tone much different from how it started, with Thompson and Green both speaking to the need to maintain decorum during proceedings.

Thompson said the two men had "sidebarred" about the language used, noting other nations keep tabs on Congressional proceedings — “our adversaries look at us,” he warned.

“You and I pledge that going forward, we'll make every effort to get back to the civility that this committee has been known for,” Thompson said.

Green echoed that in his own closing remarks.

“I agree with the former chairman, now ranking member, that we disagree on a lot of policies. We really do. And we don't have to despise someone because they disagree with us. We don't have to disparage someone because they disagree with us,” Green said. 

“And we do need to dial the rhetoric down in the country and apparently in the committee.”

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.

The post Illegal Immigration is Surging… Across the Northern Border, Now appeared first on The Political Insider.