Apr 17, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: House Republicans subpoena DHS chief Alejandro Mayorkas

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas listens to questions from Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas listens to questions from Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday, demanding information about the percentage of migrants released into the U.S., according to subpoena documents reviewed by Axios.

Why it matters: House Republicans' demands come the same day the Senate is poised to quickly dismiss the articles of impeachment against Mayorkas — highlighting how the GOP has no plans to let up on their border attacks.

  • The border has become one of the biggest issues for Republicans this election cycle.
  • Former President Trump and lawmakers have bashed Biden for "open borders," and have tried to tie violent crime to migrants who have illegally crossed the border.
  • There is no evidence that undocumented immigrants are more likely to commit such crimes.

Zoom in: The subpoena cites reporting by Fox News that Mayorkas told border officials in January that more than 85% of migrants and asylum seekers who illegally cross the border are being released into the U.S.

  • Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) claims in a letter addressed to Mayorkas that the agency has not complied with earlier requests for information supporting the 85% stat.
  • Jordan cites potential legislation as a reason for the subpoena, which he writes could include "ensuring DHS cannot mass release illegal aliens into the United States."
  • The committee asks for the information about people being released from ICE and CBP custody by May 7th.

DHS had not provided comment at the time of publication.

Between the lines: Migrants who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border are usually released into the U.S. to pursue their legal asylum claims through the courts.

  • This is a normal part of the process given limited space in ICE detention and legal limits to how long families and kids can be kept in those spaces. The government at times monitors migrants through tracking programs.
  • Border officials have also at times been forced to release migrants under a legal tool known as "parole" due to overwhelmed and crowded border facilities when numbers spike.
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