REP. GIMENEZ: Mayorkas’ Failed Leadership Is Empowering America’s Adversaries — The Senate Must Hold Him Accountable

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Thanks to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ lack of regard for the rule of law and public safety, our Southwest border has descended into total chaos, and our northern and maritime borders are also more vulnerable. I firmly believe this grave new vulnerability created by the secretary’s actions warranted impeachment. 

The House Committee on Homeland Security conducted a nearly year-long investigation into the causes, costs and consequences of this historic crisis and Secretary Mayorkas’ culpability. That investigation and the ensuing proceedings culminated in the impeachment of the DHS secretary by the House of Representatives for high crimes and misdemeanors.

The Senate must now hold a trial to examine the evidence of Secretary Mayorkas’ willful and systemic refusal to comply with the laws of the United States and his breach of the public trust.

The secretary’s stubborn refusal to enforce our nation’s laws has caused a cascade of negative effects, compromised our homeland security and created a never-ending crisis leaving Border Patrol (USBP) agents and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers completely overwhelmed.

Since he took office, there have been 9 million encounters nationwide, including around 7.4 at the Southwest border. 1.8 million known “gotaways” have evaded Border Patrol and escaped into the interior under this administration.

Like so many in South Florida, my community understands firsthand the reasons why those facing political persecution in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are attempting to seek refuge in the United States. We support legal immigration and a functioning asylum system — not the dangerous chaos at the Southern border, which emboldens America’s adversaries, strengthens the transnational cartels and makes a mockery of our asylum laws.

Communist China in particular stands to benefit from this chaos, and their continued efforts to infiltrate the United States means Secretary Mayorkas has created nothing short of a national security crisis.

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, over 24,000 Chinese nationals, 20,700 of whom are single adults, were encountered along the Southwest border — a 5,000-percent increase in encounters compared to FY 2021. The Border Patrol has apprehended more Chinese nationals in the first five months of FY 2024 than were caught from FY 2007-FY2020 combined.

In 2023, the Committee received confirmation from authorities that individuals with ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the People’s Liberation Army had been intercepted crossing the border. 

As China spreads its malign influence throughout Central and South America, Texas officials report that criminal cartels south of the border benefit from smuggling Chinese nationals across our border, charging as much as $50,000 per person. Joel Martinez, then-acting chief patrol agent for Border Patrol’s Laredo Sector, even told the Committee in June 2023 that he heard reports of Chinese nationals being charged $60,000 by the cartels. Cartels are bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars smuggling Chinese nationals into our country, and the CCP is benefitting.

Chief Patrol Agent Anthony “Scott” Good of the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector, said in June 2023 that this increase causes him concern, saying, “It’s not the demographic that we normally see … Their agendas, their ideologies, the reason for them coming could be missed.”

Just a few months ago, a group of Chinese nationals were intercepted in my district attempting to reach the shores of the Florida Keys.

Unfortunately, new reports reveal Secretary Mayorkas’ DHS has instructed Border Patrol agents to drastically reduce the number of vetting questions for Chinese nationals, from 40 to only five, in order to more quickly process these aliens into the interior. The change does not stem from a national security imperative, but simply to release inadmissible aliens faster. 

Chief Patrol Agent for the Rio Grande Valley Sector, Gloria Chavez, told our Committee in another transcribed interview in Sept. 2023 that finding translators for agents to interview Chinese nationals was tricky, and interviews could take as long as seven hours. 

The CCP is also using the fentanyl epidemic as a “strategic weapon” against the United States. China is the dominant source of the precursor chemicals used for fentanyl production, which is synthesized and pressed into pill form by the cartels and then smuggled across our borders. This poison has taken a record number of American lives in the last three years and will continue to do so at an unprecedented rate if our borders are not secured. 

As the CCP continues to target our critical infrastructure with cyber intrusions, infiltrate our universities to steal intellectual property and even establish clandestine police departments to target dissidents on U.S. soil, there is no way to know what strategic advantages the CCP is gaining from our open borders.

Carlos A. Gimenez represents Florida’s 28th congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves as the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee Transportation and Maritime Security Subcommittee.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.