May 19, 2021
By Brian Lonergan
Capitol Hill has seen its share of political theater and dramatic testimony over the decades. There may be no precedent, however, for what took place last week during the Senate hearing testimony of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. In a session that lasted just over two hours, Mayorkas’s performance symbolized everything we have seen thus far from the Biden administration: gaslighting, incompetence, obfuscation, and flat-out untruths. We as a nation deserve so much better than this.
It would be bad enough if such a performance concerned farm subsidies or funding levels for national parks. That the topic was our national security and the escalating crisis at our southern border should be of grave concern to all Americans.
Since Joe Biden is closely guarded from answering unrehearsed questions, the Mayorkas testimony was a rare opportunity to get anything resembling accountability from this administration. If his words were meant to reassure a nation on edge, Mayorkas failed spectacularly.
One of the chief inquisitors, Sen. Ron Johnson, (R-WI) produced a chart of total apprehensions at the border. If featured a hockey stick-like spike that coincided perfectly with the Biden inauguration, to which Mayorkas deflected blame to Donald Trump by saying the migrant surge had started in 2020. Johnson pointed out that any surge in 2020 was likely attributable to the fact that Democratic presidential candidates at the time were promising no deportations and free healthcare to anyone who illegally came across our border.
Mayorkas has emerged as the Baghdad Bob of the Biden administration, comically denying what is obvious to almost everyone else. He has shamelessly insisted that the southern border is closed, when ample video exists of migrants crossing the Rio Grande by the thousands. On the Hill, he told an incredulous Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) that he had no recollection of ever saying to migrants, “We’re not telling you not to come, we’re saying don’t come now.” A quick YouTube search will produce video of Mayorkas saying exactly that at the White House press room podium. Either Mayorkas is in serious cognitive decline, or he was under orders from the White House to insult the intelligence of Hawley and the rest of the country.
Mayorkas’s Sergeant Schultz act continued under questioning from Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) When asked about numerous reports that his agency has released almost 20,000 migrants into the U.S. without a notice to appear at an immigration hearing as required by law, Mayorkas replied that he was not aware of that. It strains credulity that the head of one of the largest, most powerful agencies in Washington would not be aware of such activity.
While implying that Lankford’s charge is true, Mayorkas said that such migrants would instead be instructed to report to the nearest Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office wherever they settled and receive a notice to appear. Lankford seemed shocked at the naivete that migrants in the country illegally would seriously be expected to self-report to the nearest office of ICE, which the media and the left has endlessly demonized as nothing less than the American version of the SS.
The sad spectacle went on and on like that, with Mayorkas dancing around other issues like asylum reform, catch-and-release, and the Remain in Mexico policy. His head fakes and deceptions were so bad that even Mitt Romney was outraged.
The fundamental flaw with Mayorkas, and the Biden administration at large, is evidenced not just in their dismal results, but their whole approach to immigration. Mayorkas talks more like the head of a Catholic charity migrant assistance group instead of a high-level law enforcement professional charged with protecting a nation facing myriad national security threats.
While he waxes eloquently about the plight of disadvantaged children in developing countries, nowhere to be found from him is any concern for how this massive influx of foreign nationals will affect American citizens, the American economy and American national security. The underlying presumption is that America owes something to the rest of the world via immigration, not that immigration should largely function to serve the best interests of America.
Sure, Mayorkas received a well-deserved public flogging at the hearing, and Senate Republicans got a treasure trove of viral video clips, but to what end? This administration will continue its shocking disregard for our national security, and Americans will pay the price. It is up to Americans to demand more, much more, from their leaders at all levels.
While contemplating whether to go to war in Iraq, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell reportedly warned George W. Bush that “once you break it, you are going to own it.” While our border has had longstanding problems, the Biden administration has clearly broken it and now owns it. They also own all the human misery, astronomical financial costs, and other collateral damage that comes with it. This administration and all elected leaders who support this agenda need to be held accountable.
Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.
Also published at: Brian Lonergan, The Mayorkas Border Testimony Was an Insult to Every American, Townhall, May 19, 2021.
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