This seems a bit off-message for a nominee to an administration looking to unleash the flood at the southern border. Of course, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will need all of the resources it can get if the Biden administration follows through with the ultra-progressive amnesty proposal it plans to drop tomorrow. Still, the mantra from the Left over the Trump era was to defund ICE along with, or maybe especially before, other law enforcement.
Biden nominee for Homeland Security Secretary rejected it this morning. Alejandro Mayorkas, whose appointment already has other problems, told Senator James Lankford (R-OK) that not only would the Biden administration oppose defunding ICE, it might ask for more resources for enforcement:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 19, 2021
This sounds as though the incoming administration is talking out of both sides of its immigration-policy mouth. Do they plan on staying as assertive on enforcement? That’s how Mayorkas sounded in this hearing, but his boss is about to float an amnesty plan that all but hoists a white flag at the border. It won’t have any prayer of passing in Congress, as both AP and I have written the past few days (see links above), but that doesn’t mean that the proposal won’t send those signals anyway. Promising to maintain or bolster resources at ICE while arguing for mass amnesty with no offsetting security provisions is either incompetence or a strategy for conflict.
It doesn’t sound as though Mayorkas got pressed very hard on this point, however. Nor did Republicans on the panel press Mayorkas very hard on his own peccadilloes while serving in the Obama administration, even though it’s right on point:
Several Republicans on the committee called on Mayorkas to explain his actions as USCIS chief, after in inspector general’s report found he intervened to help prominent Democrats, including then-Senate Senate Minority leader Harry Reid and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s brother with a visa program.
“These weren’t the only three cases I was involved in,” Mayorkas said. “There were dozens and dozens, whether they involved the rich or the poor, the enfranchised or disenfranchised. I became involved to be sure that our agency improved each day, that I learned of the problems we were confronted with and that I did everything to fix them.”
Most senators, however, seemed to have a favorable view of the nominee — several on both sides of the aisle telling him they looked forward to working with him in the new administration.
If that’s true, it’s a disappointment. Mayorkas operated as the kind of political fixer that Democrats kept accusing Trump administration officials of being, and got caught at it. This excuse is the equivalent of a cheating spouse offering a defense of “I’ve been faithful dozens of times!” Mayorkas was arranging political payoffs as an agency head; what are we to expect from Mayorkas as a Cabinet official? Isn’t that what confirmation hearings are designed to prevent?
Let’s not forget that his career as a political fixer didn’t start as USCIS. Mayorkas was one of the players in the sleazy Bill Clinton pardons in 2001, along with fellow Cabinet appointee Xavier Becerra. It’s a running pattern with Mayorkas, and should have been a running pattern in Republican questioning today. Instead, it appears Biden might get an easy ride from the GOP, and perhaps we can now predict Becerra will as well. Disappointing is hardly the word.