U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman pulled no punches in blasting one of the most prominent cabinet members of President Joe Biden’s administration as a liar and “tyrant” during a House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
“I have watched with absolute fascination as you danced and dodged and lied, yes lied,” Hageman said to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. “We know you’ve lied, you know you’ve lied, but more importantly the American public knows that you lied throughout your testimony today.”
Mayorkas’ testimony before the Judiciary Committee focused on the topic of border security. Homeland Security has been at the center of the handling of the ongoing immigration situation at the southern border.
Mayorkas touted the work his administration has been doing on this front, saying the Department of Homeland Security has been able to "secure our border” despite working within a “broken” system.
"Our approach to managing the border securely and humanely, even within our fundamentally broken immigration system, is working," he said.
Mayorkas said unlawful entries between ports of entry along the southwest border have consistently decreased by more than half compared to the peak before the end of the Title 42 public health order. He also denied that the border is “open.”
Mayorkas denied that the border is “open” and maintained that fentanyl trafficking and other challenges at the border started long before the Biden administration took office.
Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck told Mayorkas his constituents see him as a “traitor” and blamed the Homeland Security chief for fentanyl poisoning deaths. Most fentantyl in the U.S. is smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Many Republicans on the committee, including Hageman, accused Mayorkas of twisting facts and espousing an alternative reality. She said Mayorkas and his staff are doing everything in their power to control free speech and freedom.
"You are the walking, talking epitome of the very tyrant that our Founding Fathers recognized would gravitate toward government service,” Hageman said. “It's because of people like you that they drafted the First Amendment. Thank god we have the First Amendment, to stop you from what you have been doing.”
Last week, House Homeland Security Committee Republicans released a 112-page report into Mayorkas’ “dereliction of duty” and attempted to draw a connection between his policy decisions and the situation at the border.
Some House Republicans have also pushed for an impeachment of Mayorkas, a topic that was brought up during Wednesday’s hearing, but only directly by one congressman. Hageman has co-sponsored legislation to impeach Mayorkas and signaled further support for action in a Wednesday post on Twitter.
“Secretary Mayorkas has failed the American people and it’s time for him to resign or be removed from his position,” she said.
A few Democrats criticized the threat of impeachment being brought up during a hearing that was scheduled to focus on immigration.
“First of all, I want to make clear that this is an oversight hearing, not an impeachment hearing,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. “This is a hearing to address the questions of the work that has been done, and so to that end, just as a factual basis, there has been a lot of hollering about the entry on the border, operational control.”