(breitbart) – Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) confronted Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas during a hearing Thursday about the 1.2 million illegal aliens living freely in America who have received final orders of deportation.
Gaetz used his time during the House Judiciary Committee’s oversight hearing with Mayorkas to ask about the resources the border chief would need to remove those with deportation orders, who, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data, total 1,196,385 as of March 27.
“1.2 million people are un-detained, free, roaming about the country,” Gaetz began. “They’ve gone before a judge. A judge has issued a final order of removal. How many ICE agents do you need to deport them?”
Mayorkas repeatedly indicated during the heated four-hour hearing that Congress needed to pass immigration reform to help correct the ongoing border crisis. In response to Gaetz’s question, Mayorkas repeated that message, saying, “Congressman, I think what we need is legislation to fix a broken immigration system—”
ICE, however, does not rely on Congress to carry out deportations of those who have gone before a judge and received final orders of removal, Gaetz noted, re-asking if Mayorkas planned to remove the 1.2 million.
Mayorkas did not answer the question and instead indicated “resources” were impeding his ability to carry out deportations.
Gaetz then asked, “How much money do you need to deport all of them? How much money? How many agents to deport the 1.2 million who a judge has said have no right to be here?”
Mayorkas replied, “Congressman, there are a number of questions that your question raises with respect to whether all of those individuals actually have been given due process—”
Gaetz interrupted the border chief to correct him, saying, “No, no, no, they have. These are the people who have had their due process, ok? And here’s the point. You have no plan to remove them. You don’t know how many ICE agents it would take and you don’t know how much money it would take because you actually don’t want to remove them.”
Last September, Mayorkas issued updated guidance to ICE, telling the agency to focus on removing illegal aliens who pose a threat to the public rather than all illegal aliens. Mayorkas cited the agency’s “prosecutorial discretion” as basis for the guidance, as well as the issue of limited resources.
Mayorkas, who previously served as a U.S. attorney in California, posed a hypothetical scenario to illustrate his issue with resources in the hearing.
“As a former prosecutor, let me ask you a question,” Mayorkas said. “If one has a finite amount of resources and one has a finite number of hours, and one has a choice of removing 20 shoplifters or three fugitive armed bank robbers, how would you spend your time?”
Gaetz fired back, “Well I know how you’ve spent yours.” The congressman pointed to a decreased number of criminal arrests and observed that Mayorkas had “the lowest deportation rate in the history of the department.”
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before the House Judicary Committee on April 28, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Gaetz then continued to emphasize his point that Mayorkas has no intention of deporting those who are recorded on ICE’s docket of “non-detained” illegal aliens who have received final orders to be removed from the country.
Read a partial transcript of more of the exchange below:
GAETZ: So, do you think that it just might be the case that one reason that we will encounter the highest number of illegal immigrations in our nation’s history this month and next month is because everybody knows that even if they come here, even if they go through the removal procedures, even if a judge issues a final order, you [Mayorkas] still think that there might be more due process? And you have no plan to remove them, and when I ask you what the plan is, you say, “Oh, well, resources.”
GAETZ: I go back to my first question, how many ICE agents to remove the 1.2 million?
MAYORKAS: I’d be pleased to provide you with the resourcing data subsequent to this hearing, if I may—”
GAETZ: I think it’s telling that you’ve got plans for pronouns and you’ve got plans for misinformation, but when it comes to the plan to remove the people that have had due process, you don’t have one at all.
MAYORKAS: So if I could return to data because I want to make sure that you have accurate information—
GAETZ: Everyone knows that you have more people coming in than ever and you’re removing fewer people than ever and it’s because you have no plan and because it’s on purpose. See, I don’t buy the theory that you don’t know how to do this. I think you’re actually a highly competent dude. But the reality is your plan is to bring these people in and to send the message to the smugglers and the criminals that they will never have to leave.
The Florida congressman then wrapped up his remarks by referencing advanced technology, such as facial recognition, that ICE could use to carry out its deportation responsibilities.
Gaetz said, “I think we ought to use the best tools in the country to find these folks, round them up like they were at the Capitol on January 6, and deport every last one of them.”