The Biden administration is reportedly proposing reorganizing Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a move that would drastically cut down on deportations of illegal immigrants.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas outlined the proposal in a call last week with ICE officials in Texas. Mayorkas suggested shuffling thousands of immigration agents into investigative roles that would focus on criminal activity other than immigration violations, according to The Washington Times.
“This is an administrative abolishment of ICE as we currently know it,” an anonymous source told the Times in a Sunday report.
The Biden administration plan would take thousands of federal agents out of the roughly 6,000 currently tasked with enforcing immigration law out of their jobs and reassign them as investigators. Roughly 7,000 federal agents currently work on ICE investigations into criminal conduct not including illegal immigration, according to “top officials at the agency” cited by The Washington Examiner.
Last month at his confirmation hearing, Mayorkas told senators that he believed ICE should not be abolished despite pressure on the Biden administration to do so by progressive lawmakers and activists. He was confirmed on February 2 in a 56-43 vote, facing stiff opposition from Republicans in the Senate. Just six Republicans supported his nomination.
“It is the greatest privilege of my life to return to the Department to lead the men and women who dedicate their talent and energy to the safety and security of our nation,” Mayorkas said during his confirmation. “The mission of the Department of Homeland Security is to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values. The United States is a welcoming and empathetic nation, one that finds strength in its diversity. I pledge to defend and secure our country without sacrificing these American values.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) made the case early against Mayorkas, accusing the now-secretary of “selling citizenship” to well-connected Chinese nationals. As The Daily Wire reported:
Cotton denounced Alejandro Mayorkas, who Biden announced he would pick as his DHS chief on Tuesday, during an interview on Fox News on Wednesday. Cotton said that Mayorkas’ alleged abuse of the EB-5 visa program, which allows foreigners who invest significant sums into growing U.S. businesses to apply for green cards, “disqualified” Mayorkas from the position.
“He was found by Barack Obama’s inspector general to be guilty of selling green cards to Chinese nationals on behalf of rich Democratic donors,” Cotton said. “Think about that. Selling citizenship to well-connected Chinese nationals on behalf of Democratic Party donors. That is disqualifying…”
In tweeting out the clip, Cotton added: “Alejandro Mayorkas was found by Barack Obama’s Inspector General to be guilty of selling Green Cards to Chinese nationals on behalf of rich, democratic donors. He is disqualified from leading the Department of Homeland Security.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also voiced disapproval with the Biden admin pick on the day of Mayorkas’ confirmation.
“Up to this point, I’ve voted in favor of the president’s mainstream nominees to key posts,” McConnell said. “Mr. Mayorkas is all too familiar with the levers of power that control U.S. immigration law. The problem is when he’s chosen to pull those levers – and for whose benefit.”