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Republicans slam Mayorkas for not disclosing deportation data: Hasn't 'shared anything useful'

Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan sent Mayorkas a letter on Tuesday seeking the exact number of migrants released into U.S. among other figures

Published: July 26, 2023 8:51am

Updated: July 27, 2023 1:07pm

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who is in the hot seat before a House panel on Wednesday, said China bears responsibility to the fentanyl crisis happening the U.S.

"I stand by my statement at Aspen that China does bear responsibility because many of the precursor chemicals and the pill press equipment that's used to manufacturer fentanyl does originate from there," he said at a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing. "This is a complex problem. We are taking it to the criminals."

In his opening statement, Mayorkas argued that Biden's border policies are working.

"Our approach to managing the border securely and humanely, even within our fundamentally broken immigration system, is working," he said.

In response, the Republican National Committee wrote on Twitter: "FACT: 7+ illegal immigrants have crossed the border since Biden took office — 28 months of the worst border crisis in history."

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan sent Mayorkas a letter on Tuesday outlining areas he should be prepared to discuss, including disclosing how many migrants were released into U.S. communities under the Biden Administration. 

The data Jordan wanted Mayorkas to provide at the hearing included the "total number of inadmissible aliens who have been encountered by CBP along the southwest border and (a) who were released into the United States, and who have remained in DHS detention and have not been released" since January 20, 2021.

Jordan also wanted to know "the number and percentage" of those migrants who "claimed a fear of persecution for purposes of asylum and received a fear determination."

Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, a committee member, asked Mayorkas how many illegal immigrants he thinks the U.S. government can handle each year. During his 5 minutes of questioning, McClintock said about 1.2 million have been released under Biden. Mayorkas did not directly answer the question about how many the U.S. should accept and he did not dispute the 1.2 million figure.

California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa asked Mayorkas to provide the status of the 140 individuals on the terrorist watchlist who were apprehended at the border so far in FY2023. Mayorkas said his staff would provide that information to him.

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz argued that the "CBP One" app has "digitalized illegal immigration" and served as a "Disney fast pass into the country." He asked Mayorkas if the app searches the criminal history of applicants in their home countries but he did not directly answer.

"If it did, you would have already told me. It doesn't," Gaetz said.

Mayorkas said the purpose of the app is to reduce the number of encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Wait a sec, you've just shifted those encounters," Gaetz responded, noting that more migrants are showing up at ports of entry.

Gaetz also asked how many of the 2 million illegal aliens who were encountered and released at the southern border, not counting title 42, were ultimately removed from the country. He did not provide the data.

Jordan noted that Mayorkas said during his testimony that the Biden administration has arrested 14,000 smugglers. He asked Mayorkas to explain what consequences they have faced.

"I'm very pleased to provide that data to you," he said. 

When asked if some of the smugglers have been arrested multiple times, Mayorkas said, "I'll provide that information for you."

Jordan later told Mayorkas that the committee has a "history" with DHS where the department doesn't provide the specific data requested. He said many of the documents ultimately provided are heavily redacted.

Indiana GOP Rep. Victoria Spartz said Mayorkas hasn't "shared anything useful" at the hearing and refused to answer many questions from Republicans.

"Cartels are stronger," she said. "We have a national security crisis." 

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