The Western States Sheriffs’ Association has issued a declaration of “no confidence” in Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, saying he’s led a Biden team that has turned the southern border into “an invisible line in the sand.”
The sheriffs, who represent 17 states, called on President Biden to oust Mr. Mayorkas and find a new department chief who will work with them to restore respect for the border and immigration law.
They pointed to a surge of people and, more acutely, of drugs pouring across the border in recent months and reaching deeper into America’s interior, bringing the impact of border chaos straight to their communities.
They also tied some of the recent increases in violent crimes in major cities to illegal immigrants.
“America’s sheriffs have watched in disbelief as the southern border has turned into an invisible line in the sand,” the sheriffs said this week in a position paper signed by association President Leo Dutton, sheriff in Montana’s Lewis and Clark County, and Executive Director James F. Pond.
Illegal activity along the border set records over the last fiscal year, with almost all of the chaos coming on Mr. Biden’s watch. The summer saw the Border Patrol flirt with 200,000 arrests each month, and though that has leveled off somewhat, October’s figure of nearly 160,000 was still the worst October on record.
The sheriffs said things had been improving in recent years, with “a great deal of progress” in cutting illegal border crossings. The Biden team has erased those gains, the association said, laying blame at Mr. Mayorkas’ feet.
“Since his appointment we have seen his policies enacted that are personal and political ideologies that continue to dismantle the security of our country and the enforcement efforts of the hard-working federal officers assigned to an extremely difficult task,” the association said.
It’s more than just the sheer numbers, the sheriffs said.
Most of those coming do so with permission, and often help, of smuggling cartels, which control the approaches to the U.S. border and usually charge a “mafia fee” or “piso” to use their routes.
Those who don’t have the cash upfront will have to work to pay off the debt, with some going into drug trafficking, forced labor or prostitution to make good on what they owe.
The Washington Times has reached out to the Department of Homeland Security for comment on the sheriffs’ statement.
Mr. Mayorkas, testifying to senators on Capitol Hill this week, graded himself an “A for effort” and insisted the border is under control, at least when measured by the humanity of the policies in place.
“I put 100% into my work, and I’m incredibly proud to do so,” he said.
Senators from both parties delivered plenty of criticism on how the sprawling department has handled itself so far.
Republicans were incredulous at Mr. Mayorkas’ assessment of his performance, though one, Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, said he doubted Mr. Mayorkas bears the blame.
“I don’t think you deserve to have to be here today to answer questions about immigration because I don’t think you’re calling the shots,” Mr. Kennedy said. “I think those shots are being called out of the White House.”
Mr. Mayorkas said he was “proud” to be part of the Biden team and is the man to talk to about immigration.
“For the policies that are promulgated, I should be held accountable,” he said.
Rep. Andy Biggs, Arizona Republican, has written articles of impeachment against Mr. Mayorkas, saying he failed in his duty to secure the border and to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
• Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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