Tags: Biden Administration | Homeland Security | Immigration | alejandro mayorkas | senate | confirmation | dhs

DHS Nominee Mayorkas Refuses to Commit to Stopping Migrant Job Seekers

(C-SPAN)

By    |   Tuesday, 19 January 2021 08:56 PM

The nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security evaded questions during his confirmation hearing Tuesday about caravans of economic migrants headed to the U.S.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., asked nominee Alejandro Mayorkas if he believed entering the country illegally for economic improvement was "a valid asylum claim?"

"Senator, the asylum laws are well established, and they provide that an individual who's fleeing persecution by reason of his or her membership in a particular social group is deserving of protection," Mayorkas answered.

Johnson quickly asked, "OK, but coming here for economic gain is not a valid asylum claim: Would you agree with that?"

Mayorkas responded, "I believe I articulated the legal theory in it."

Not mentioned was the fact administration officials have much legal authority to expand or limit asylum rules.

A migrant caravan from Honduras largely stalled in Guatemala on Monday. Still, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., stayed on the topic with Mayorkas.

"As a leader of DHS, it's pretty likely you're going to have thousands of people coming across the border and a migrant caravan from Honduras pretty rapidly," Lankford said. "What message would you want to give to those folks right now that are traveling north in that migrant caravan?"

Mayorkas told Lankford he would allow the current caravan of Honduran economic migrants into the United States for "humanitarian relief," including jobs.

"President-elect [Joe] Biden and people who will be joining us in the incoming administration have spoken about the fact that there's a commitment to follow our asylum laws, to enforce our asylum laws, and that means to provide humanitarian relief for those individuals who qualify for it under the law," Mayorkas said.

The nominee hinted the administration would try to minimize criticism from Americans by delaying the inflow of foreign workers.

"That cannot be accomplished with just a flick of a switch and turned on on Day One [Jan. 20]," he said. "That it will take time to build the infrastructure and capacity so that we can enforce our laws as Congress intended."

Republicans likely can prevent Mayorkas from being confirmed. Although Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will hold a tiebreaking vote in a 50-50 Senate, 60 votes are needed to move forward with debates. Thus, only 41 of the 50 GOP senators would be needed to block a final vote on the nominee.

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The nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security evaded questions during his confirmation hearing Tuesday about caravans of economic migrants headed to the U.S.
alejandro mayorkas, senate, confirmation, dhs, secretary, hearing
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2021-56-19
Tuesday, 19 January 2021 08:56 PM
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