DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is being held responsible, according to a recent report by Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee, for the horrific human costs of the migrant crisis at the southern border.
“These devastating human costs fall squarely on Mayorkas’ shoulders, and no amount of excuse-making, blame-shifting, or political prevaricating can change that fact,” the report says.
This committee report is the third one detailing Mayorkas’ crisis management. It exhibits harsh criticism from Republicans, who have called for his impeachment over policies that have contributed to the border crisis, such as lax interior enforcement and increased catch-and-release.
The report followed a committee hearing in September, where members heard about the human implications of the crisis, including child trafficking, overworked Border Patrol employees, and the ongoing impact of fentanyl trafficking from Mexico.
Produced in Mexico from Chinese precursors, fentanyl is the leading cause of death annually. It is trafficked explicitly across the southern border. According to the report, seizures at the border, both within and between ports of entry, have skyrocketed. It signals that more may be slipping past overworked authorities.
“As cartels push record numbers of illegal aliens across the border, stretching Border Patrol resources to—and often past—the breaking point, they have increased their ability to push drugs like fentanyl across, as well,” the report says.
The Republican report also details the enormous cost to Border Patrol and ICE personnel and agents by citing evidence of stress, increased workload, and suicide concerns. The report attributes the rise in fatigue to the crisis, which it argues results from administration policies.
“The heroism of the men and women who sign on the dotted line to serve and protect their fellow countrymen is unparalleled. Tragically, the policies of Secretary Mayorkas spurn that heroism,” it says.
A DHS spokeswoman dismissed concerns about morale in the Border Patrol, stating the department had made great efforts to support the employees and had prioritized providing resources and assistance, which included hiring more than 1,000 processing coordinators and 300 agents.
“This Administration has secured historic levels of funding that include the first increase in hiring for the U.S. Border Patrol in a decade and new resources across the Department for employee mental health and well-being,” they said.” The best way to support personnel handling historic levels of migration is for Congress to pass the Biden-Harris administration’s proposal to fully fund our work, invest in new technologies, and finally fix our broken immigration system.”
The report additionally outlined the effects of illegal immigration on crime and public safety, pointing to the decline in ICE arrests for unlawful illegal immigrants as evidence.
Finally, it highlights the rising tragedy and loss of life among migrants drawn to the southern border. According to Republicans, this crisis has seen an increase in the number of migrants killed, the agony they have undergone at the hands of smugglers, the abandoning of children by smugglers, and the trafficking of minors into the labor market.
“This self-inflicted crisis has exacted a terrible human cost all across our country,” Chairman Mark Green said in a statement. “Since Secretary Mayorkas took office, we’ve watched in horror as fentanyl has increasingly spread into our communities, criminal illegal aliens have poured across the border, and law enforcement has been completely overwhelmed. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of vulnerable people, including children, have been trafficked or smuggled across the border by the cartels into forced labor, the sex trade, and other horrific situations.
“Secretary Mayorkas’ dereliction of duty is central to these horrors, and instead of changing course on the policies that brought us here, he has only doubled down in their defense,” he said. “It’s unacceptable, and we’re going to keep informing the public about what this crisis has cost all of us.”
While Democrats on the committee attacked the report as a diversion, DHS officials have consistently countered Republican criticism of Mayorkas by claiming that it is Congress’ responsibility to increase funding and fix the immigration system. To combat human and drug smuggling, officials have previously promoted anti-smuggling programs and increased funding.