DHS Sec. Green-Lights Border Surge
President Joe Biden has been around Washington, D.C., for a long time — a six-term U.S. Senator representing Delaware and another two terms in Capitol Hill’s inner sanctum, the White House, as Barack Obama’s vice president. Biden has, during his 44 years toiling in federal government, met plenty of qualified people from which he could choose to join his cabinet.
Yet Biden has, right out of the gate, stumbled monumentally on two key positions affecting immigration, a policy that concerns many millions of Americans. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, the former California Attorney General, has no experience administering health agencies. HHS has 85,000 employees and an $879 billion annual budget, a massive responsibility. Overseeing HHS, and its Office of Refugee Resettlement, has by his own admission overwhelmed Becerra.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was another avoidable cabinet selection. The Havana-born former U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director is a long-time backer of higher immigration levels and was instrumental in implementing deferred action for childhood arrivals, DACA, the Obama-era policy that Congress never voted on.
Favoring more immigration or supporting DACA aren’t automatically disqualifiers for DHS secretary; millions of Americans share the same views. But violating immigration guidelines to enable overseas investors to obtain business visas that include paths to citizenship should automatically void any cabinet nomination. Now as DHS secretary, he’s disregarded his sworn oath of office, and should be removed from his role.
Mayorkas is guilty on both counts: visa abuse and shirking his DHS duties.
In 2013, several of Mayorkas’ USCIS staff reached out to then-Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley that their boss had inappropriately intervened on behalf of three wealthy, influential investors whose EB-5 visas had previously been denied. The three cases included, reportedly, a consortium with ties to former Virginia governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, and another involving Anthony Rodham, brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Informally, EB-5 is referred to as the “citizenship for sale visa,” which grants permanent residency Green Cards to the investor, the spouse and unmarried children under age 25.
Mayorkas’ EB-5 scandal wasn’t a partisan infight. In 2015, Obama’s Department of Homeland Security Secretary General John Roth investigated Mayorkas’ EB-5 involvement and concluded that he had acted inappropriately. From Roth’s report: “Mr. Mayorkas communicated with stakeholders on substantive issues, outside of the normal adjudicatory process, and intervened with the career USCIS staff in ways that benefited the stakeholders.” At Mayorkas’ DHS confirmation hearing, Grassley and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) repeatedly pressed for answers, but got only purposely elusive replies.
During his brief DHS Secretary tenure, Mayorkas been passive in the extreme about an unprecedented border surge, and ignored one of his principal duties, to protect the homeland. From Mayorkas’ oath of office: “I pledge to defend and secure our country….” But just two months later, in April, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) encountered 178,622 illegal immigrants in border crossing attempts, the highest one-month total in two decades. In March, officials picked up 19,000 unaccompanied minors, the largest number ever, and housed them in mass shelters with little oversight. Often, the Associated Press reported, parents have no idea where their children are. With Mayorkas’ approval, an overwhelmed Border Patrol has released 61,000 illegal immigrants into the general population without notices to appear in court at a later date. The latest DHS affront: the department hired 260 nonmedical caregivers to, as acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller explained, help the young migrants cross the border.
Calls for tougher border policies that serve Americans’ best interests have begun, and are getting louder. Former deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, former acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan and former acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tom Homan claim, citing ample evidence, that Mayorkas has “abjectly failed” to defend and secure the U.S. In their joint statement, the experienced law enforcement officials urged the Biden administration to “return to the rule of law.”
Mayorkas’ inappropriate intervention in the EB-5 cases, his blatant indifference to the border surge and the children he’s knowingly putting in harm’s way make him an unworthy DHS secretary. Americans didn’t reelect President Trump, but they didn’t vote for the border disaster, every step of which is funded with their hard-earned tax dollars. Before more harm can be done, Mayorkas should be fired.
Joe Guzzardi is a Progressive for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at email@example.com.