During a Wednesday hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) squared off with Alejandro Mayorkas, the current Secretary of Homeland Security. House Republicans have been targeting Mayorkas for a possible impeachment.
Gaetz sought information on the number of people deported out of a larger portion of ostensibly millions of migrant encounters experienced by border agents.
“Individuals who are released are placed in immigration enforcement proceedings under the law where they can make their claim for relief,” Mayorkas began to explain. “If their claim for relief is not satisfied, they are subject to removal from the United States.”
Mayorkas subsequently began to answer Gaetz’s interrogation on the specific number from that broader group — which, in the Congressman’s telling, excluded deportations under the now defunct Title 42 restrictions and others — but Gaetz almost instantly interrupted. Eventually, the Florida Republican accused Mayorkas of fostering a policy approach under which individuals arriving at the border can “stay forever” if they don’t commit specified criminal acts or otherwise meet ostensibly too limited thresholds for removal.
Gaetz alleged that a massive number — over a million people — had lingered in the country despite their claims for refuge in the United States getting set back in proceedings on their cases. “Congressman, that is false,” Mayorkas replied.
Gaetz also complained to Mayorkas about an app that has been rolled out for usage as individuals seek access to the U.S. and its migration authorities. Republicans have characterized this mobile application as essentially setting up a free-for-all of access to the United States, though there is no guarantee because of being able to book an appointment through an app that an individual will get their continued presence in the United States actually approved.
“I disagree with everything you have said,” Mayorkas eventually cut in. “You’ve got the turnstile open,” Gaetz later alleged of Mayorkas and the others currently in charge, though Democrats have pointed to facts like the high rate of deportations undertaken by the Biden administration as evidence the southern border just isn’t “open” as Republicans have claimed.
Watch the full hearing below: