TRAGESSER: Many Applauded Biden’s Pick for Homeland Security — Here’s Why That Was a Mistake

REUTERS/Joe Skipper.

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created in response to the attacks of 9/11. Among its critical responsibilities is to secure the nation’s borders, enforce its immigration laws and protect the interests of Americans and migrants. But none of those priorities is likely to be achieved under the leadership of Alejandro Mayorkas, the man President-elect Joe Biden has nominated to serve as the next DHS secretary.

Though mass immigration advocates applauded the selection, and many in the media focused on Mayorkas’ heritage and career titles, they have largely overlooked his troubling past involving fringe open borders policies, legal scandals and fostering work environments that condone retaliation against employees who fail to share his immigration visions.

Despite the adulation from the corporate media and open borders advocates, Mayorkas should not be confirmed in the Senate as the next DHS secretary.

While serving as the director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in 2009, Mayorkas planted the seeds for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — a program, implemented in 2012, that provides de facto amnesty and work permits to illegal aliens under the age of 31 who arrived in the country before the age of 16. His involvement in creating that program – an illegal executive fiat that President Obama said he didn’t have the authority to do on more than 20 occasions – and his vision of moving it forward in the next few months should prevent him from serving as the next leader of DHS.

The program illegally bypassed Congress’ unambiguous authority to make immigration laws and ignored the fact that a legislated amnesty, known as the DREAM Act, had been rejected by Congress a number of times, including as recently as 2013. Even more troubling, Mayorkas has publicly stated he wants to expand DACA by softening the age requirement so that qualification would be determined by an applicant’s age when they came to the U.S., not their present age. Under his vision, a 60-year-old who came to the country at age 5 would qualify for amnesty.

Expanding an illegal policy program, forgiving illegal aliens for unlawful entry and encouraging illegal immigration is the antithesis of what the leader of the largest law enforcement and public safety federal agency should be doing — but it gets worse.

Mayorkas’ previous legal scandals should also preclude him from being confirmed as leader of DHS. In 2015, President Obama’s DHS Inspector General John Roth concluded that while serving as Deputy Homeland Security Secretary in 2013, Mayorkas improperly secured visas for wealthy foreign investors in at least three separate construction projects.

During this time, Mayorkas had intervened to secure E-B visas for investors overseas — visas that are granted to foreign nationals who invest at least $900,00 in the U.S. for development projects — after they had been denied. In these three instances, Roth discovered that Mayorkas “communicated with stakeholders on substantive issues outside of the normal adjudicatory process, and intervened with the career USCIS staff in ways that benefited the stakeholders.”

And we should not forget his infamous “get to yes” edict while serving head of USCIS, which included pressuring career public servants to bend rules and ignore evidence of fraud. According to an inquiry by Senator Chuck Grassley — submitted on behalf of USCIS staff members — Mayorkas went above and beyond to pressure officials to rubber-stamp as many visa petitions as possible, and even encouraged them to overlook red flags and think of themselves as serving their “customers,” rather than the American people. If officials deviated from this protocol, they often faced consequences including transfers to other assignments.

As seen by his fringe open borders policies, legal scandals, and hostile leadership, Mayorkas has a poor track record that does not benefit the interests of Americans.

The policies being touted by the Biden-Harris team, including an executive amnesty, a complete stoppage in further building of the border wall, a 100-day cessation in all removals of illegal aliens, and eliminating all private detention facilities will create increased pressure on the nation’s immigration system that Mayorkas has already demonstrated he is ill-equipped to handle.

It remains imperative that the Senate avoid confirming Mayorkas to serve as the next DHS secretary as he has repeatedly proven that his actions and visions run contrary to the responsibilities required to lead the department.

Matthew Tragesser is a communications specialist at Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).