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A pair of Republican senators torched Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his recent answer regarding an apparent meeting between the department and the National School Boards Association (NSBA).
GOP Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee blasted the DHS secretary over his answer to a committee question during a Tuesday Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
Cotton asked Mayorkas if anyone from the department has “met with anyone from the National School Boards Association.”
“Not that I’m familiar with, and I don’t know why that would fall within our jurisdiction,” Mayorkas responded on Tuesday.
Mayorkas’ answer, however, appeared to conflict with a recently revealed memo in which an NSBA official said her group had met with DHS officials.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Cotton took aim at Mayorkas over the discrepancy on Wednesday, questioning who is really “in charge” of DHS.
“Secretary Mayorkas claims he wasn’t aware that his department teamed up with the National School Boards Associations to target concerned parents,” Cotton told Fox News in an emailed statement. “Who is in charge of the Department of Homeland Security?”
Blackburn similarly slammed Mayorkas in a statement to Fox News, accusing the cabinet secretary of “either lying” or not knowing what’s happening at the agency he leads.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan and plans for future counterterrorism operations on Capitol Hill on September 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Patrick Semansky/Getty Images)
“Secretary Mayorkas is either lying or he doesn’t know what’s going on at his own agency,” she said. “We are in the midst of an unprecedented border crisis, and DHS is focusing its efforts on targeting concerned parents instead of securing the border.”
During the committee hearing, Mayorkas told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the American immigration system is “broken,” while stating that not all of the 1.2 million illegal immigrants with final removal orders should be deported.
Senator Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee, speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S. on Thursday, March 4, 2021. (Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Committee ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, pointed to a Sept. 30 memo in which Mayorkas said “the fact that an individual is a removable non-citizen should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them.” Grassley then asked if this still applied to those who already have final removal order against them.
“We cannot remove 1.2 million individuals,” Mayorkas said, speaking to the impracticability of deporting so many people.
He then called into question the validity of those orders.
“I would not necessarily accept the fact that all of them have received due process,” he said.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed reporting.