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Sen. Rick Scott: Mayorkas Lied To The American People About Illegals, Should Resign

Former CBP Commissioner: "I know he has that data because we helped create those documents.”
Senator Rick Scott, a Republican from Florida, participates in a television interview at the Russell Senate Office building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. Senate Republicans dismissed concerns about an extended fight over the presidential election damaging the public's faith in voting or disrupting the transition process.
Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On Wednesday, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) held a roundtable regarding the southern border crisis and the majority of the panel agreed that Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas had lied to Americans about the border, with Mark Morgan, the former Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, telling the group that Mayorkas either “directly lied” to Johnson when he said he didn’t have data on how many illegal immigrants had been removed, released, or detained, or Mayorkas “intentionally stuck his head in the sand.”

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) asked the panel, “How many of you believe he has lied to the American people?” Six of eight members raised their hands.

Scott continued, “He has to resign. I asked him when I interviewed him, I said, are you going to comply with the law? He said, ‘Absolutely.’ ‘Are you going to provide me all the information I want for oversight, I’m the Homeland Security?’ ‘Absolutely.’”

“He came into the committee that we were in three weeks ago and completely lied,” Scott asserted. “He lied to the American people. The guy has to resign.”

Morgan stated, “Senator Johnson — I completely agree, sir. I watched your questioning him. You asked him three simple questions: How many have been removed? How many have been released? How many are detained?”

“As the Secretary of Homeland Security — you didn’t even get into the details about the demographics: How many are unaccompanied minors, how many families, how many single adults, right?” Morgan continued. “Look, as the Commissioner, I know he has that data because we helped create those documents.”

“The chief here used to bust on me all the time,” Morgan recalled. “He said, ‘Commissioner, stop looking at all the data every day, right?’ Cause I was calling him every single day just about the data. This Secretary had this data. So he either directly lied to you when he said he didn’t have it or he intentionally stuck his head in the sand. Both are unconscionable and both he should be removed.”

In late September, Johnson grilled Mayorkas. “Mr. Secretary, of the 1.3 million people that we’ve apprehended, how many people have been returned?” Johnson asked. “How many people are being detained? And how many people have been dispersed? Now I want some numbers here. So we’ve got 1.3 million people, how many people have been returned? How many people are being detained? How many people have been dispersed to all points around America?”

“Senator, I would be pleased to provide you with that data,” Mayorkas responded in refusing to provide any data.

“I want them now!” Johnson erupted. “Why don’t you have that information now?”

“Senator, I do not have that data before me,” Mayorkas claimed.

“Why not?” Johnson pressed. “Why don’t you have that basic information?”

“Senator, I want to be accurate in the information …” Mayorkas claimed.

The exchange continued:

JOHNSON: I’m looking for ballpark figures. Is it about half, have we dispersed about half of that, or we have about 600,000 people we dispersed?

MAYORKAS: Senator, these are the tools that we employ. We use the Title 42 authority that is the Public Health Authority, empowered by the Centers for Disease Control to expel individuals in light–

JOHNSON: So I’m hearing that you’re not using that to the full extent and that we’ve got 40-50% of people, even apprehended under Title 42 that are not being returned. Is that accurate? 

MAYORKAS: That is that is actually inaccurate.

JOHNSON: … What is the real figure then?

MAYORKAS: If I may say, Senator, we use the Title 42 Authority, the Public Health Authority of the Centers for Disease Control to the fullest extent, we are able to.

JOHNSON: So what is the percent that you are returning under Title 42? It’s about 750,000 people, apprehended under Title 42, how many of those individuals have been returned under Title 42?

MAYORKAS: Senator, I will provide that data to you. 

JOHNSON: So you’re saying that 40-50% is not accurate? If you know that that’s not accurate. You must have the real number.

MAYORKAS: Senator, what I said was not accurate was your assertion that we are not using Title 42 Authority to the fullest extent that–

JOHNSON: No, that’s not what I said at all. I said we’re not returning everybody under Title 42. We’re dispersing a number of those individuals.

MAYORKAS: Not for reasons of our limitation of use that we impose on ourselves, but rather because certain of our capacity to return people under Title 42 is constrained by the Mexican authorities of ability to receive them. This is a matter of bilateral and multilateral relationships. We exercise the Title 42 Authority to the fullest extent that we can, we then work with Mexico to assess what its capacity to receive individuals is. 

JOHNSON: Again you’re talking about the process. I want numbers. I’m gonna expect numbers, by the way, you know, last year in which you didn’t stick around for second round questions, you didn’t come in here in person, I sent you questions for the record, I’ve got no response whatsoever. And you came before this committee, and you committed to responding to congressional oversight. And you have not done so. And according to former chief Scott, you’ve provided factually incorrect information to Congress. So we’re expecting you to up your game as it relates to congressional oversight.

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