Sen. Josh Hawley, R- Mo., wrote a letter to both Sen. Gary Peters and President Biden calling for a full Senate hearing with testimony from Department of Homeland Secretary (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas on the “growing crisis at the southern border.”
Peters is chair of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, where Hawley is a member.
It’s highly unlikely that Peters, a Democrat from Michigan, will call Mayorkas to testify.
“I believe that border security is national security. If we fail to demonstrate to the American public that we are operating a controlled, fair, and orderly immigration system, then it erodes public trust in our institutions and the laws passed by Congress,” Hawley said in a statement about the letters. “And this is not just about the border, scaling back immigration enforcement can have a major impact on both the safety of American communities and the livelihood of American workers across our nation.”
Hawley, in his letter to Biden, said the administration “refuses to accept reality and admit we are in a full-blown crisis,” pointing to White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s avoiding the “crisis” term in press briefings.
In his letter to Peters, Hawley cited an internal email where Mayorkas conceded there was an “overwhelming” number of migrants at the border.
“Today, I activated the Volunteer Force to support Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as they face a surge in migration along the Southwest Border,” Mayorkas said in an email to staff, seen by Fox News.
It is the latest sign that the administration is gearing up for a migrant crisis similar to that the country faced in 2019, which saw more than 140,000 apprehensions a month at its peak.
Law enforcement at the border encountered more than 100,000 migrants at the border in February, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Wednesday.
So far, encounters in FY 2021 to date are 97 percent higher than FY 2020 and 24 percent higher than FY 2019 — when there was a crisis at the border.
The administration has ended policies like the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) which kept migrants south of the border while waiting for their hearings — as well as asylum agreements with Northern Triangle countries. It also ceased funding for the border wall, and has narrowed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) priorities for arrests and deportations.
Hawley pointed to these executive actions and Biden’s backing of “amnesty legislation,” or a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, as part of a sweeping immigration reform bill he hopes to bring before Congrerss.