At a House Homeland Security Committee field meeting on Wednesday, Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz stated the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not have operational authority over the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. Doesn’t Have Control of Southern Border
Mark Green, the Republican committee head, questioned Ortiz.
In the fiscal year 2022, more than 2.3 million migrants were apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), including more than 270,000 from October to January.
Green asked if the whole border is under the operational control of DHS. Ortiz replied, “No, sir,” in response to this question.
Republicans took note of Ortiz’s remark since they previously asked Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of Homeland Security, about the very same subject. When they asked, he had unfailingly insisted that the southern border was under control during hearings.
When @JoeBiden cancelled commonsense border policies he surrendered control of our southern border.
Now, Americans and Montanans are paying the price. https://t.co/iNod1syBLa
— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) March 15, 2023
A video of DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claiming that his agency has operational authority over the southern border was then presented by Green. The question was asked of Chief Ortiz if he thought that Secretary Mayorkas was lying or if he was being honest.
“Sir, whenever you speak about effective procedures, you should know that ten years ago, we used effective control to gauge how useful we were being along the southwest border. Mission advantages are the focus of my new plan,” Ortiz said.
Green persisted in pressing Ortiz on whether he believed Mayorkas made a false statement, but the border chief sidestepped the issue. Ortiz remarked that he did not see the remainder of the evidence there.
— Jennie Taer (@JennieSTaer) March 15, 2023
Green remarked that there have been 1.3 million illegal immigrants who have been known to elude federal southern border agents. He said that he’s either ignorant or being dishonest.
Mayorkas said that actually, according to a legal provision, operational control occurs if neither a person nor a controlled substance crosses our border.
Thus, by that strict definition, our nation does not have operational control, but, it is evident that some rationality must be added to this situation.
He continued by saying using a realistic interpretation of that term, they currently assign 23,000 people to the border. “We are rapidly expanding our staff, infrastructure, and other forms of assistance,” he said.
“Operational controls, in my perspective, entail making the most of the resources at our disposal in order to provide the best outcomes.”
Mayorkas Avoids Questions
It’s believed that this wording, which prohibits all unauthorized entry into the United States, including that of terrorists, other unauthorized aliens, weapons of mass destruction, drugs, and other contraband, is highly important.
Doris Meissner, a senior scholar at the Migration Policy Center and a former commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), said to use the word ambitious is utopian.
That was said to The Hill in February.