Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was heavily chastised by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson over his failure to provide congressional oversight leaders with data from President Joe Biden’s mishandling of the border. The resulting catastrophe has led to the uncontrolled influx of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from Haiti, in addition to the hundreds of thousands who have made it across the border every month since Biden took office.
“Mr. Secretary, of the 1.3 million people that we’ve apprehended, how many people have been returned?” Johnson asked. “How many people are being detained? And how many people have been dispersed? Now I want some numbers here. So we’ve got 1.3 million people, how many people have been returned? How many people are being detained? How many people have been dispersed to all points around America?”
“Senator, I would be pleased to provide you with data,” Mayorkas responded in refusing to provide any data.
“I want them now!” Johnson exclaimed. “Why don’t you have that information?”
“Senator, I do not have that data before me,” Mayorkas claimed.
“Why not?” Johnson prompted. “Why don’t you have that basic information?”
“Senator, I want to be accurate in the information …” Mayorkas stated.
Mayorkas proceeded to repeatedly dodge Johnson’s questions, refusing to answer.
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I’m putting a chart that I’ve been keeping on apprehensions on Southwest Border. Just to give you some quick numbers here, to date this calendar year, there have been almost 1.3 million apprehensions, we’re averaging the last few months 6,700 to 6800 people per day. That’s a large caravan per day being apprehended by Border Patrol. 800 to 1,100 known got-a-ways, which would equate some somewhere over 300,000 getaway is known got-a-ways for the year. If you annualize these figures, been a couple 100,000 people per month, we’ll be up to about 2.1 million apprehensions, add the get-a-ways, 300,000 to 400,000, we’re up to two and a half million people. You have repeatedly stated that our borders are not open, they’re closed. Do you honestly believe that our borders are closed?
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, DHS SECRETARY: Senator, I do. And let me let me speak to that.
JOHNSON: No, let me ask you a couple questions here. This committee received, it was dated September 11th, but apparently this letter was not received till Thursday, I didn’t find out about it till yesterday, I released it to the public immediately, by recently retired U.S. Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott. In this letter, former Chief Scott states, he is sickened by the avoidable and rapid disintegration of what was arguably the most effective border security our nation’s history. And of course, the chart shows it, we’ve pretty well secured the border. We’d stopped the flow of unaccompanied children, we’d stopped the flow of family units, because of the migrant protection protocols and the agreements that President Trump put in place, that the building of the wall, we were serious about border security until your administration took office. You stood before this Committee and said that you would enforce the laws. You have not done that. Let me go on. Chief Scott says to think that well resourced terrorist networks, criminal organizations and hostile nations are not going to do the same, in other words, exploit the open border is naive. Here’s what’s very troubling. He said the Secretary and other political appointees within DHS have provided factually incorrect information to congressional representatives and to the American public. So let me ask you, Mr. Secretary, of the 1.3 million people that we’ve apprehended, how many people have been returned? How many people are being detained? And how many people have been dispersed? Now I want some numbers here. So we’ve got 1.3 million people, how many people have been returned? How many people are being detained? How many people have been dispersed to all points around America?
MAYORKAS: Senator, I would be pleased to provide you with data.
JOHNSON: I want them now! Why don’t you have that information? Now?
MAYORKAS: Senator, I do not have that data before me.
JOHNSON: Why not? Why don’t you have that basic information?
MAYORKAS: Senator, I want to be accurate in the information…
JOHNSON: I’m looking for ballpark figures. Is it about half, have we dispersed about half of that, or we have about 600,000 people we dispersed?
MAYORKAS: Senator, these are the tools that we employ. We use the Title 42 authority that is the Public Health Authority, empowered by the Centers for Disease Control to expel individuals in light–
JOHNSON: So I’m hearing that you’re not using that to the full extent and that we’ve got 40-50% of people, even apprehended under Title 42 that are not being returned. Is that accurate?
MAYORKAS: That is that is actually inaccurate.
JOHNSON: … What is the real figure then?
MAYORKAS: If I may say, Senator, we use the Title 42 Authority, the Public Health Authority of the Centers for Disease Control to the fullest extent, we are able to.
JOHNSON: So what is the percent that you are returning under Title 42? It’s about 750,000 people, apprehended under Title 42, how many of those individuals have been returned under Title 42?
MAYORKAS: Senator, I will provide that data to you.
JOHNSON: So you’re saying that 40-50% is not accurate? If you know that that’s not accurate. You must have the real number.
MAYORKAS: Senator, what I said was not accurate was your assertion that we are not using Title 42 Authority to the fullest extent that–
JOHNSON: No, that’s not what I said at all. I said we’re not returning everybody under Title 42. We’re dispersing a number of those individuals.
MAYORKAS: Not for reasons of our limitation of use that we impose on ourselves, but rather because certain of our capacity to return people under Title 42 is constrained by the Mexican authorities of ability to receive them. This is a matter of bilateral and multilateral relationships. We exercise the Title 42 Authority to the fullest extent that we can, we then work with Mexico to assess what its capacity to receive individuals is.
JOHNSON: Again you’re talking about the process. I want numbers. I’m gonna expect numbers, by the way, you know, last year in which you didn’t stick around for second round questions, you didn’t come in here in person, I sent you questions for the record, I’ve got no response whatsoever. And you came before this committee, and you committed to responding to congressional oversight. And you have not done so. And according to former chief Scott, you’ve provided factually incorrect information to Congress. So we’re expecting you to up your game as it relates to congressional oversight.