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Republican Rep. Chip Roy blasts DHS Secretary Mayorkas for claiming U.S. has 'operational control' of the southern border

"Mr Secretary, there have been over one million individuals put into proceedings or released into the United States on your watch,” Roy said

Republican Rep. Chip Roy
Republican Rep. Chip Roy | Shutterstock

April 29, 2022 8:00pm

Updated: April 30, 2022 2:14pm

Republican Rep. Chip Roy blasted Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas during a Thursday hearing on Capitol Hill, repeatedly disputing the secretary’s claim that the U.S. presently has "operational control” of the southern border.

During the hearing, the congressman from Texas asked Mayorkas to provide an accurate estimate of undocumented migrants currently residing in the United States, arguing that based on the legal definition and the number of migrants released from custody into the United States, it was dishonest to suggest that the government had any control over the southern border, the Daily Wire reported.

“Mr Secretary, there have been over one million individuals put into proceedings or released into the United States on your watch,” Roy said, adding that he had asked Border Patrol agents whether they believed an increase to their operational budget might have impacted that number.

Roy subsequently revealed that the agents he spoke to said that the government’s policy – not a lack of adequate funding – was to blame for the border crisis.

Roy then asked Mayorkas if he believed the number of undocumented migrants would go up or down if the budget were increased.

“Would the number of people being released into the United States under current law, would it go down no matter how much you increased your budget?” he asked. “It would not, as they said. Do you agree, yes or no?”

“Congressman, if I understand your question correctly, when individuals are in the United States and they make a claim for asylum —” Mayorkas replied.

“The number would not go down, is the answer, right? Yes or no? That’s what they said, and I think you’ve just answered, it would not go down,” Roy repeated. “The only plan that you offer, the plan you just offered, is to process aliens faster and encourage more to come.”

“We know that to be true. I know it’s true, you know it’s true, cartels know it’s true, and people around the world know it’s true, and that’s why people are coming,” Roy continued.

“That’s false,” Mayorkas objected, but Roy pushed back, saying that it wasn’t false and adding, “The entirety of your plan says that.”

“The Secure Fence Act of 2006 says what?” Roy asked. “That the Secretary of Homeland Security shall take all actions the secretary determines necessary to achieve and maintain operational control over the entire international land and maritime borders. Will you testify under oath, right now, do we have operational control, yes or no?”

“Yes, we do,” Mayorkas replied.

“We have operational control of the border?” Roy repeated.

“Yes, we do, and Congressman, we are working to —” Mayorkas tried again.

“Listen to what — operational control defined,” Roy continued. “In this section, the term ‘operational control’ means the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband. Do you stand by your testimony that we have operational control in light of this definition?”

Mayorkas then attempted to blame the immigration crisis on the Trump administration, arguing that the previous administration would have also claimed to have “operational control” of the border.

“The secretary would have at least had a basis for saying that we have some sort of control of the border,” Roy shot back, referencing Trump’s immigration policies, including the highly contested Title 42.

Roy also noted that data from Mayorkas’ office showed that more than 40 individuals on the U.S.’ terror watch list had been released into the U.S. and were currently unaccounted for by the courts and government agencies.