Moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) defended embattled Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas from Republicans on Sunday.
Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Manchin made excuses for Mayorkas, claiming that the Republicans in Congress need to “unleash him” and let him do his job while pushing for “immigration reform,” including a pathway to citizenship for immigrants.
“[I]t’s an unfair charge against [Alejandro] Mayorkas because I think the gentleman is very competent, he can do a good job,” said Manchin. “They just need to unleash him, let him do his job. That’s what I have said before and I’ll say it again now. With that, we have got to do basically immigration reform. My state of West Virginia needs more workers. We need people that want to come here for the right reason, to provide for their family a better quality of life.”
“[W]e have so many people that want to come to our country, there has to be a legal pathway forward,” Manchin added. “That’s all we’ve been talking about. The 2013 piece of legislation that we worked on and passed in a bipartisan way in the Senate, never got a vote in the House. Use that as the building block. That was a piece of legislation that was responsible and reasonable and it basically all centered around border security, but it gave a legal pathway forward to come into this country, work your way to legal citizenship. That’s what we need.”
Manchin did say, however, that Title 42 immigration restrictions should remain in place until an adequate immigration bill is passed.
“[W]e have a crisis at the border, everyone can see that. I think everyone realizes that something has to be done. [Title] 42 needs to be extended until we can get really, truly immigration reform… [W]e need an extension until we can get a viable answer for this. Right now, this is unattainable. This is wrong. You can’t do this to the southern border.”
Border Patrol agents recently gave Mayorkas the cold shoulder when he visited El Paso. The agents specifically called out the DHS Secretary for claiming that the border is secure, despite the agency’s continued struggles.
“They asked him why he’s saying that the border is secure when we have no agents in the field,” one agent told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday. “He had the nerve to respond that he never said the border was secure.”
House Republicans have repeatedly said they would investigate and possibly impeach Mayorkas for his mishandling of the situation.