Republican Congresswoman Kat Cammack (R-FL) shared a personal story Wednesday with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about the impact illegal immigration has had in her life. Instead of taking her question seriously, however, Mayorkas fired back over her “extraordinarily disrespectful” query, leading to a tense exchange.
During a conversation about the border crisis during a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing titled “The Way Forward on Homeland Security,” the Florida Republican said she wanted to “bring it home a little bit.”
"See, I’m from a small town out West and the month before I was supposed to graduate high school – which was 2006 – one of my classmates was kidnapped by an illegal who had been deported multiple times,” she said, going on to make the point that when there are policies in place that “incentivize” illegal immigration without “proper mechanisms in place to protect our borders,” there are “resounding effects.”
Therefore, she wondered, “how many more” situations like the one that happened to her classmate have to occur before the secretary will “take action”—a question the many Angel Families across the country would likely also want answered.
Mayorkas, however, found the question "extraordinarily disrespectful."
"Disrespectful not only to me, but disrespectful to the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security and to all the front-line personnel across this country who dedicate themselves to the safety and security of the American people," he added.
"I’m sorry that you feel that way," Cammack responded. "I’m sure the American people feel very disrespected about the border situation they’re facing right now."
.@DHSgov Sec. Mayorkas called one of my questions "extraordinarily disrespectful" when I mentioned a classmate's kidnapping at the hands of an illegal immigrant.— Congresswoman Kat Cammack (@RepKatCammack) March 17, 2021
What I find disrespectful is the crisis at the border due to @POTUS' executive order.
Despite the crisis at the border, which FEMA has been deployed to help assist with, Mayorkas insisted during Wednesday’s hearing that the southern border is “secure.”
“[T]he border is secure and the border is not open,” he said. “We are expelling, under the CDC’s public health authority in light of the pandemic, single individuals who arrive at the border. We are expelling families, under that same public health authority, limited only by the capacity of Mexico to receive them.”
Mayorkas added that the U.S. is "not expelling children who arrive unaccompanied without a parent or legal guardian."
Sheila Jackson Lee: "This administration has a border policy...It is not a policy of putting children in cages, which we had to suffer for year after year in the Trump Administration. There are no children in cages."— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) March 17, 2021
Mayorkas: "The border is secure and the border is not open." pic.twitter.com/HALS2FEtSE