WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has offered to testify in the House GOP impeachment inquiry against him, but the chairman of the committee leading the probe is accusing him of refusing the panel’s request.
The House Homeland Security Committee has officially begun impeachment hearings this week after a year of research border crisis Majorcas, they say, failed to mitigate its influence. Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., sent a letter to Mayorkas on Jan. 5 asking him to appear at a Jan. 18 hearing.
Green is now accusing Mallorca of rejecting the committee’s request after staff suggested they work together to find another date.
In a letter sent to the committee Thursday morning and obtained by NBC News, the Department of Homeland Security’s assistant secretary for legislative affairs wrote: “Consistent with the secretary’s commitment to cooperate with congressional committees, he will be available to testify before the court. Committee. In accordance with the usual deployment process, we look forward to working with Committee staff on the details and agreeing on the date and structure of the hearing.”
“As you can appreciate, the Secretary’s schedule is busy with Department work, including receiving members of the Mexican Cabinet next week,” the letter said.
An hour after the letter was sent, Green responded in a statement: “It is deeply troubling that Secretary Mayorkas has denied the Committee’s multiple requests to appear before a co-equal branch of government. “For months, we have worked with his office to secure his testimony before the Committee so that the American people can gain much-needed transparency about the causes, costs and consequences of this unprecedented border crisis.”
The GOP effort to impeach Mayorkas comes as he is DHS secretary actively works with a bipartisan group of senators about an agreement to increase immigration implement and send more resources to the southern border.
Green’s initial request to Mayorkas required a response by Jan. 10, and committee staffers familiar with the matter said the first contact with DHS about the request came in a phone call that evening, and they extended the response deadline to DHS in the morning. January 11. Committee staff would not say whether they would be busy rescheduling a meeting with DHS, citing previous instances where they have asked him to testify about the border crisis, and DHS chose to have Majorca testify. instead border issues at the Annual Global Threats Hearing.
“It’s just plain stupid and a delaying tactic,” said a committee staffer. “This is the third time he has rejected us.”
A DHS official said Mayorkas has testified on Capitol Hill more times than any other Cabinet member this Congress: 27 times. The official noted that it has “extensive cooperation” with Congress, including that the department has “provided more than 75 witnesses” for more than 50 congressional hearings and responded to more than 1,500 letters from DHS members.
Instead of Mallorca’s speech, the committee will hold a hearing on January 18 entitled “Voices of Victims: The Heartbreaking Reality of the Mallorcan Border Crisis”.