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Mayorkas Confronted After Border Patrol Admits DHS Doesn't Have Control of the Border

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas was asked during a Senate hearing on Tuesday about Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz testify to the House Homeland Security Committee that DHS does not have operational control of the southern border.


Mayorkas testified in April 2022 to Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) that DHS did have operational control but then stated during a Senate hearing in May that year he does not use the definition that is in the Secure Fence Act of 2006 because no Homeland Security secretary has ever had operational control.

During today's Senate hearing, Mayorkas once again said he does not use the definition in the Secure Fence Act.

"Number one, we are intensely focused on securing the border. Number two, we are equally focus on enforcing our laws to achieve that result...With respect to the definition of operational control, I do not use the definition that appears in the Secure Fence Act and the Secure Fence Act provides statuetorally that operational control is defined as preventing all unlawful entries into the United States. By that definition, no administration has ever had operational control," Mayorkas said.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked Mayorkas if the plan DHS is currently carrying out working at reducing the historically high number of illegal crossings.

Mayorkas said the issue of fentanyl pills and fentanyl-laced drugs being smuggled into the United States and illegal immigrants are separate issues, but DHS is working within the boundaries of a "broken" immigration system.


House Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green's (R-TN) recent field hearing in Texas' Rio Grande Valley pointed much of the blame of the ongoing crisis on Mayorkas for carrying out policies that have resulted in the surge in illegal immigration.

"They aren’t detaining because Mayorkas knows that detention is deterrence. And so they’re just processing people in, paroling them right away and sending them into our country. And the phone calls go back to those countries of origin, telling their friends and families, ‘come on, the door is wide open,'" Green said.

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