Staring down the increasing possibility of becoming just the second cabinet official in U.S. history to be impeached, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has finally admitted that his agency is not upholding the rule of law at the border.
During a recent interview, Mayorkas appeared to agree with an assessment that the administration is releasing more than 70 percent of illegal aliens into the country. Mayorkas also privately told Border Patrol agents that the number of illegal aliens being released into the country was above 85 percent, according to a later report from Fox News. All of this contradicts Mayorkas’s repeated assertions that the U.S has operational control over its southern border, but it’s also very revealing about the approach Mayorkas takes to border security.
As record numbers of illegal aliens have crossed the border on a yearly basis since Mayorkas took office, the secretary has been loath to take responsibility for the catastrophe that has occurred on his watch. He has repeatedly blamed Congress for the border crisis, and has claimed that he inherited a broken immigration system, essentially telling the public not to blame him for the disaster. However, the root cause of the unprecedented surge in illegal aliens at the southern border is not a “broken immigration system,” or deficiencies of U.S. asylum law. It is Mayorkas’s blatant refusal to uphold the rule of law.
Mayorkas and his supporters contend that aliens have the right to claim asylum, and the overwhelming number of fraudulent asylum claims being made are not his responsibility. These defenses fall short when one looks at the vast incentive structure Mayorkas and his cronies have set up to enable illegal immigration.
Just months after being confirmed to his role by the U.S. Senate in 2021, Mayorkas authored a memo stating that entering the country illegally was no longer sufficient cause to deport an alien. Unless illegal aliens have committed a heinous crime or is deemed a national security threat, they can stay in the U.S. as long as they want.
When Mayorkas issued this memo, it sent a signal across the world that the U.S. border was wide open. Any aspiring migrant who could make it through the border would be able to stay for life, and have access to all the taxpayer-funded services that should be reserved for American citizens. This signal was heard loud and clear by the drug cartels, who have subjected migrants to hideous treatment as they traffic them to the U.S., all while profiting from this scourge of human misery and suffering to the tune of billions of dollars. For all practical purposes, Mayorkas has essentially partnered with the cartels to turn illegal immigration into a lucrative enterprise.
When it comes to reducing illegal immigration, we know what works. After the Trump Administration initiated a program that forced aliens to wait in Mexico while their asylum claims were being adjudicated, the number of frivolous asylum claims dropped dramatically. If asylum seekers know they will not be allowed to live in the U.S. while their claims are being adjudicated, the number of people willing to make the treacherous journey through Latin America to file fraudulent claims will plummet.
So, it’s no surprise that the opposite effect occurred when the Biden Administration terminated the Remain-in-Mexico program shortly after taking office. The abuse of the U.S. asylum system is largely preventable, but has instead been encouraged by this administration every step of the way.
Mayorkas’s public concessions on the number of illegal aliens being released into the country comes as he makes the media rounds to defend himself against a potential impeachment. The House of Representatives began impeachment proceedings against the embattled secretary earlier this month after more than a year of threatening to do so. Just one cabinet official in U.S. history has been impeached by the House—U.S. Secretary of War William Belknap back in 1876—and Mayorkas will no doubt claim that the process is being abused to target him over policy disagreements. However, Mayorkas’s encouragement of the invasion taking place at the U.S. border in violation of his Constitutional and statutory responsibilities is no more a policy disagreement than it would be for Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to allow China to take Hawaii.
The impeachment of Alejandro Mayorkas is about far more than policy disagreements. It is about the intentional degradation of American sovereignty and security in violation of the Constitution and long-standing federal law. Mayorkas’s admission that he is releasing the vast majority of illegal aliens into the U.S. should solidify Congress’s resolve to relegate the secretary to historical infamy through impeachment.
Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel 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.