Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) announced that he plans to block a fast-track confirmation process of Alejandro Mayorkas, Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security, a move that will delay the installment of Biden’s national-security team in place as soon as he takes office.
In a statement, Hawley invoked Trump’s border wall, as well as a coming legislative proposal by the incoming Biden administration that would provide a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living here. The legislative proposal would not have the force of law, and Biden campaigned on the idea.
“On Day 1 of his administration, President-elect Biden has said he plans to unveil an amnesty plan for 11 million immigrants in this nation illegally,” Hawley said.
“This comes at a time when millions of Americans remain out of work and a new migrant caravan has been attempting to reach the United States. Mr. Mayorkas has not adequately explained how he will enforce federal law and secure the southern border given President-elect Biden’s promise to roll back major enforcement and security measures.”
Hawley referenced Mayorkas refusal to answer certain Senators question during his Senate confirmation hearing.
“Just today, he declined to say he would enforce the laws Congress has already passed to secure the border wall system. Given this, I cannot consent to skip the standard vetting process and fast-track this nomination when so many questions remain unanswered,” he said.
Mayorkas wouldn’t say at Tuesday’s committee hearing if he had plans to tear down portions of President Trump’s border wall along the U.S.-Mexico southern border.
“I haven’t looked at that specific question,” Mayorkas said in response, noting that he prescribed the same theory on the border with that of the late Sen. John McCain to explain why he didn’t provide a “monolithic answer.”
“I will share with you the fact that I agree with the approach that then-Sen. McCain – an American hero in my family and in this country — that Sen. McCain took to the border, which is, it’s not a monolithic challenge,” Mayorkas told the Senators. “The border is varied depending on the geography, depending on the specific venue, and depending on the conduct of individuals around it.”
“And we don’t need, nor should we have, a monolithic answer to that varied and diverse challenge,” Mayorkas added.
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) then asked Mayorkas if he recommended “any of the physical barriers along our southern border be dismantled or removed.”
Mayorkas told lawmakers that Biden is committed to halting Trump’s Border wall project, but emphasized he first would have to analyze the costs and benefits of tearing down certain sections.
Delivering on his 2016 campaign of promising to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico borders, Trump in his four years as president oversaw the construction of 450 miles of border wall. Last Monday, Trump made his last official domestic trip as president visiting a section of his border wall in Alamo, Texas.