PHARR, Texas — Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green (R-TN) began his line of questioning during Wednesday's field hearing about the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border by asking Chief of the Border Patrol Raul Ortiz if the U.S. has operational control of the border.
"Does DHS have operational control of our entire border?" Green asked.
"No, sir," Ortiz responded.
Green then played video of DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifying to Congress the U.S. does have operational control of the border. Afterwards, Green asked Ortiz if Mayorkas was lying, which Ortiz did not answer directly.
Green even provided the definition of "operational control" to Ortiz and while he agreed the U.S. does not have operational control of the border, he would not say if Mayorkas was lying.
Mayorkas gave his statement in question to Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) in 2022.
.@RepChipRoy goes NUCLEAR on DHS Secretary Mayorkas when he claims that the United States has "operational control" over the southern border.— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) April 28, 2022
Chairman Nadler then accuses Rep. Roy of "slandering" Secretary Mayorkas. pic.twitter.com/o2L4rCqrTD
In response to Green's line of questioning, a DHS spokesperson sent the following statement:
Today’s hearing highlights the vital work the Department of Homeland Security does every day to enforce our laws, secure our border, and combat cartels and smugglers. As Chief Ortiz and Assistant Director Cagen testified, new programs, technology, and investments are making a real impact.
Despite inheriting a dismantled immigration system and facing unprecedented migration that is affecting nations throughout the Western Hemisphere, this Administration has surged resources to the border, reducing the number of encounters between ports of entry, disrupting more smuggling operations than ever before, and interdicting more drugs in the last two years than had been stopped in the five years prior.
The Department welcomes input from Congress, and looks forward to working with Members on legislative solutions for our broken immigration system, which Congress has not reformed for more than forty years.
Green also did not hold back in his opening remarks in expressing his anger with Democrats on the committee choosing to not attend the hearing.
"Now, this was supposed to be a full committee, but, as you can see, the Democrats are not here. They decided to not to not show, why? Well they said coming here was a political stunt. You tell me taking a hearing to the point of the crisis for a first hand view, or our boycotting a hearing, because you know we’re going to shine a light on the truth? Which of those is of political stunt? I’d, say the political stunt as these empty chairs," Green said.
"The Democrats also talk about bipartisanship how this committee, how this is supposed to be a bipartisan committee. I guess for them by partisanship is only when you agree exactly with them," he continued. "Now in the Army, when someone didn’t show up, we called them AWOL or absent without leave. Their place of duty is this hearing, because it’s a full hearing and they are not here. They are AWOL."
Democrats on the Committee have claimed they never intended to attend the field hearing but the Committee told Townhall on Friday last week Democrats were coming, but they did not have a final number at that time.
Watch in the video above.