Today U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) sent letters to President Joe Biden and Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, calling for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to testify at a full Senate hearing, to be scheduled as soon as possible on the growing crisis at the southern border.

Senator Hawley called on Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to explain the Biden administration’s continued public denials of the crisis and to clarify the details of their planned response.

“There is a crisis on the southern border. It is in fact a full-blown emergency,” wrote Senator Hawley. “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. 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.”

Read Sen. Hawley’s letter to President Biden here and his letter to Senator Peters here or below.


March 10, 2021

President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Biden:

There is a crisis on the southern border. It is in fact a full-blown emergency. Illegal border crossings have accelerated in recent months, a trend that is correlated with several recent policy changes by your administration, and news reports suggest that the situation at the border continues to worsen. To help improve transparency about your plans to secure the border, I urge you to immediately send Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to Congress to publicly testify to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Congress, not the President, makes immigration law. And while every administration has the right to pursue policy changes within the parameters set out in statute, when those changes result in elevated levels of unrestricted, illegal border crossings, then it’s critical that the administration provide an explanation to Congress and to the American people. Unfortunately, so far, your administration refuses to accept reality and admit we are in a full-blown crisis. Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that “I don’t think we need to sit here and put new labels on what we have already conveyed is challenging,” and said in response to a question about the number of children detained in federal facilities along the border that “it’s not our program.” [1] You have also avoided answering questions by the press as they relate to our southern border. [2] It is my hope that Secretary Mayorkas’ testimony will help to clarify the scale of the emergency and also provide confidence that as President you will do what is necessary to secure our nation’s borders.

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. 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.

Thank you for your attention to this matter of great urgency.

Sincerely,

Josh Hawley

CC:

The Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas
Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528


The Honorable Gary Peters
Chairman
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Peters:

I write to request that you schedule a full committee hearing as soon as practicable on the growing emergency at the southern border. It is critical that the committee conduct oversight into recent actions of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and I ask that you use your authority as Chairman to call Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to publicly testify. Today, I am also sending a letter to President Biden urging him to dispatch Secretary Mayorkas to Congress as soon as possible. 

Recently, there has been a surge of illegal migration on the southern border. [1] This new crisis follows a series of actions by the Biden administration, such as steps to reverse the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, [2] an attempt to halt deportations, [3] a suspension of border wall construction, [4] and support for amnesty legislation. [5] As members of the relevant congressional oversight committee, it’s incumbent upon us to fully and publicly examine these recent changes and evaluate their impact on the “pull factors” that impact migration patterns and encourage illegal immigration into our country.

In addition, it’s not clear that Secretary Mayorkas is providing a full account of the emergency at our southern border to the American public. On March 1st, when asked if there was a crisis on the southern border, Secretary Mayorkas responded “no.” [6] However, this past Monday, in an email to staff, the Secretary reportedly conceded that there are “overwhelming numbers of migrants seeking access to this country along the Southwest Border.” [7] If Secretary Mayorkas thinks this is a crisis, then he should be honest with the American people and say so.

While every administration has the right to pursue policy changes, when those changes result in elevated levels of unrestricted, illegal border crossings, then rigorous oversight must be conducted. Such policy changes can have a major impact on both the safety of American communities and the livelihood of American workers. For these reasons, it’s critical that we maintain vigorous security and enforcement measures on our southern border.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. I look forward to working with you this Congress on issues related to border security.

Sincerely,

Josh Hawley

CC:

The Honorable Rob Portman
Ranking Member
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510