EXCLUSIVE: Three top Trump-era Department of Homeland Security officials are calling on President Biden to dismiss Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of the crisis at the southern border, accusing him of “reckless abandonment” of securing the border.
In a statement first obtained by Fox News, former deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, former acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan and former acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tom Homan claim that Mayorkas has “abjectly failed” in his oath to defend and secure the U.S.
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“Instead, he has presided over a reckless abandonment of enforcing America’s immigration laws and securing our borders,” they wrote. “If President Biden has the best interests of the American people in mind, the path forward is clear: Return to the Rule of Law.”
“Mayorkas has shown that he is the wrong person to lead the Department of Homeland Security. Rather than providing the support and tools his agencies need to execute their fundamental missions, he has created an unmitigated crisis where both immigration enforcement and border security are almost non-existent,” the statement read.
Officials have been overwhelmed by a historic surge in migrants. More than 178,000 were encountered in April, with more than 13,000 unaccompanied children. Meanwhile, family units are being released into the interior, sometimes without court dates.
The Biden administration has blamed “root causes” in Central America like poverty, climate and violence for the surge in migration. Mayorkas has pointed to the once-packed Border Patrol facilities that have now been emptied – with child migrants instead being moved to Health and Human Services (HHS) facilities – as evidence of progress.
Mayorkas infuriated Republicans last week at a Senate hearing when he blamed the Trump administration for the crisis.
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“They did nothing to facilitate addressing the surge, what they did was they dismantled the tools that we had to address it,” he said. “And they tore down the programs that could have helped alleviate the pressure.”
Mayorkas said the Trump administration was “antithetical” to both U.S. values and the needs of the department.
Critics of the administration have pushed back, blaming the rollback of Trump-era policies like the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), border wall construction, narrowed interior enforcement and its decision not to expel unaccompanied children under Title 42 public health protections.
The Trump officials, all of whom have been strongly critical of the administration’s handling of the crisis – including its decision not to describe it as a “crisis” – pointed to reduced deportations, sky-high border numbers and cartel activity as proof of the failure of Mayorkas’ approach.
“In defiance of existing federal law, ICE agents have been ordered not to arrest known public safety threats, as well as ignore a federal judge’s order to deport criminals, after receiving due process at great taxpayer expense,” they wrote. “The number of migrant children in federal custody is through the roof. Criminal cartels and human traffickers are proliferating and profiting at unimaginable levels. Not only is this not securing the homeland, it’s a complete abandonment of the brave men and women we once had the privilege to lead.”
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“Enough is enough. The nation needs a Secretary of Homeland Security who will actually secure the homeland and fix – not facilitate – the border crisis,” they said. “Someone who will enforce the law, not reward or ignore lawbreakers. We’re running out of time, Mr. President. The American people are watching.”
The statement is the latest in growing pressure from Republicans and immigration hawks on Mayorkas. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told Mayorkas last week that statements the DHS chief made, in which he indicated he did not see the numbers as a major problem, were “extraordinary and extremely damning.”
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Republicans in the Border Security caucus have complained that Mayorkas had not met with them, while groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform – of which Morgan is a senior fellow – have echoed the former Trump officials’ call for Mayorkas to be removed.
“It is clear that Mayorkas will not secure the border or enforce the overwhelming majority of our nation’s immigration laws. Thus, every day that he remains secretary of DHS, he is consciously violating his oath of office,” FAIR President Dan Stein said in a separate statement to Fox. “President Biden must ignore the open-borders puppeteers he has been surrounded with and terminate Secretary Mayorkas immediately.”
The pressure on Mayorkas comes as Republicans have also been criticizing Vice President Kamala Harris in her role leading diplomatic talks with Mexico and the Northern Triangle to solve the root causes of the crisis.
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Harris has so far held virtual meetings with the leaders of Mexico and Guatemala, and will visit in person next month – but Republicans have criticized her for not holding a press conference or visiting the border itself.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported last week that President Biden has “lashed out” at Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra when he allegedly failed to have answers for questions about the agency’s ability to take care of migrant children.