Senate Border Bill Hands Emergency Authority To DHS Secretary Who Refuses To Use The Word ‘Crisis’

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Jake Smith Contributor
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The Senate border security bill released on Sunday would give exclusive authority to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to decide who can enter the United States in the event of an emergency.

Mayorkas is facing impeachment amid criticisms that he has failed to properly secure the southern border, and he has refused to call illegal immigration a “crisis” despite the problem escalating since President Joe Biden took office in 2021. The bill would give Mayorkas the sole authority to decide whether illegal aliens can enter or stay in the U.S. in the event of a “border emergency.” (RELATED: ‘Anti-American’: Senate Bill Gives Billions More To Ukraine Than For Southern Border Security)

“As to the substance of the ‘border emergency authority,’ it appears to be left to the discretionary whims of Secretary Mayorkas—who, I might add, is currently being impeached for failing to actually enforce existing law,” Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee said on Monday. “This is asinine.”

Mayorkas has chosen to avoid calling the illegal immigration problem in the U.S. a “crisis,” most recently saying that he thinks the term is unimportant and political.

“I am not focused on the label that one appends to it. I am focused on the challenge that it is and what we can do about it,” Mayorkas told the New York Times in a Friday report.

“The choice of language has become a proxy for the politics of the issue,” Mayorkas told NYT. “And I am focused on the substance of the issue and addressing it substantively. Whatever we call it does not change what we are experiencing, and the challenge that it is. And that’s what I’m focused on.”

Mayorkas told NYT he blamed Republicans and former President Donald Trump for using “inaccurate and harmful” rhetoric in describing the border crisis. Trump has been publicly critical of the Biden administration’s handling of illegal immigration and warned in late January that there is an “invasion” at the southern border.

Migrant encounters at the southern border rose to over 2 million in fiscal year 2023, compared to approximately 1.6 million in 2021 and 400,000 in 2018. The Biden administration is only deporting a small fraction of the total number of illegal aliens who have entered the U.S. in recent years.

The House Homeland Security Committee marked up two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas on Jan. 31 over some lawmakers’ perception that he has abandoned his duties to secure the border. A vote on the issue has been sent to the House floor, where it could be deliberated by members as soon as this week, according to the Associated Press.

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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