Questions Homeland Security Secretary on President Biden’s border crisis
WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, questioned Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas on the failures of the Biden administration to secure the southern border.
Excerpts of the questioning are below, and the full exchange is here.
Senator Johnson: “Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me start out by saying that under my chairmanship, it was rare where I didn’t allow a second round of questioning. This is the second time that the secretary has appeared before this committee. We have serious issues to discuss—this being the second time we won’t be able to ask a second round of questions. I would hope, the next time he appears—and other administration officials appear before this committee—they’ll afford the committee the respect we deserve in terms of oversight responsibility. So, Mr. Secretary, I have a short period of time here so I’ve got a lot of questions. I hope you keep your answers short and succinct. I appreciate the fact we had a phone conversation yesterday and we went over some information, some numbers, but I just wanted you to confirm that—based on that conversation—that the numbers I’m dealing with, in terms of the extent of the crisis on the border, are largely accurate. Through six months—January through June—total apprehensions are a little over 900,000, is that correct?”
Senator Johnson: “Are there times when you don’t? Does every state, does every city know when you are sending a truckload or a busload or a few people into their state, into their city, into their jurisdiction with a notice to appear or a notice to report?”
Secretary Mayorkas: “We do not, and there are reasons for that under the law. And let me say here...”
Senator Johnson: “Okay, that’s all I need to know. Okay, so let’s talk more numbers. If we’re at 173,000 people released into the interior for the first six months, if you multiply that times 2, that’s 346,000 people. A recent report, and this is anecdotally as well, we’re hearing that on average there’s about 750 to 1,000 known got-aways per day. That’s on top of the 6,300 apprehensions per day. So 750 to 1000 known got-aways. We don’t know how many unknown got-aways we’ve got, but 750 to 1,000 known got-aways per day, that translates to basically 269,000 people getting away, getting into the United States, and we have no idea who they are or where they’re going. Is that roughly your understanding of that number as well?”
Secretary Mayorkas: “No, it isn’t.”
Senator Johnson: “Okay, so again, as something else you need to report back to me on. So again, this is the information I’ve got. If you add up those two numbers, doubling the six months of people with notices to appear, notices to report, 346,000, plus 269,000, that’s over 600,000 people coming into this country, either being apprehended and dispersed, or just because we’re so overwhelming the CBP that they’re able to get into this country, get away, and nobody knows who they are. Over 600,000 people, just to put that in perspective, that’s larger than the population of Wyoming. It’s approaching the population of Vermont. That is the extent of the problem that I’m sorry, Mr. Secretary, you and this administration are denying. You are in a state of denial about the crisis. You’ve said you’re going to defend against dangerous threats. You’ve got 269,000 people and you don’t know who they are. My guess is that many of them might be drug traffickers, members of transnational criminal organizations, gang members, but let’s talk about the murders and the deaths occurring in our inner cities. Mr. Secretary, let me ask you, are you aware that human traffickers sell children so they can create a family unit that can exploit our asylum laws? Are you aware that that happens?”
Senator Johnson: “Mr. Secretary I have so many questions, I’ve run out of time. I hope next time you come, and you actually will stay for second and third and maybe fourth rounds of questions because the American people deserve transparency, they deserve accountability, they need to understand this enormous tragic crisis on our border and right now because the mainstream media’s not reporting it, and your administration isn’t even admitting we have a crisis on the border. The American people are basically in the dark of what’s happening here. It’s tragedy. It’s a travesty.”
Senator Johnson: “I would be satisfied with basic facts and numbers that we’re not getting, because the facts and the numbers will describe what’s happening and that’s probably one of the reasons we’re not being provided that information. So please, give us the information. And not necessarily just a hearing, on an ongoing basis, daily, weekly, give us that information.”