by Brian Lonergan
For as long as most of us have been alive, there have been declarations that America’s best days are behind us and that we are in a slow, steady decline. Against this backdrop, there is a growing sentiment that our present leadership in Washington is something altogether different, and worse.
We are still getting familiar levels of government waste and inefficiency, but along with those come seemingly unprecedented levels of radicalism and incompetence. This noxious combination was on full display with the recent Senate testimony of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Washington is filthy with dogmatic bureaucrats, but Mayorkas stands out. He is willing to parrot the most absurd and provably false statements, such as his repeated insistence that the border is closed. When called before Congress, he defends this administration’s indefensible border policies with shameless diversions and obfuscation.
At the heart of this administration’s border policy is a zealous adherence to far-Left ideology that flies in the face of common sense and traditional American principles. When Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked if the border is more under control now than during the Trump years, Mayorkas replied, “We have more control [of the border] that is consistent with our values as a nation.”
This was a reference to the White House’s favorite talking point that Trump was “cruel” by instituting a zero-tolerance policy that temporarily separated parents from their children. But in its attempt to be all things anti-Trump at the border, this administration has empowered ruthless human trafficking cartels, enabled greater quantities of fentanyl and other illicit drugs to be brought into the country, and allowed untold numbers of children to be sexually assaulted as they are stockpiled into overcrowded detention centers. Isn’t that cruel? In what way is any of that consistent with our values as a nation?
Mayorkas also agreed that the nation was “on the right track” with its immigration policy now and that he gives himself a grade of A in his performance “for effort and investment in mission and support of our workforce.” This is more than simple partisanship; it is delusional. Anyone who has seen the Haitian migrant crisis in Del Rio or the overcrowding at the Donna detention center and then declares the policy to be on the right track is not fit to serve in a position of such responsibility.
Mayorkas’ record of supporting his workforce is also deficient. His refusal to defend the mounted border agents who were falsely accused of whipping Haitian migrants was disgraceful. He instead deferred to the Biden White House’s narrative of racial demagoguery, all evidence to the contrary.
While discussing the widely unpopular idea of the Justice Department paying foreign nationals separated under zero-tolerance up to $450,000 per person, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) asked if such payments would result in more or less illegal immigration. Mayorkas replied that he did not think such payments would be a “pull factor” to draw more border crossers. The anti-borders mindset is so divorced from reality that its disciples actually believe the lure of almost a half-million dollars would not incentivize destitute migrants to seek entry into the United States.
Partisanship is not necessarily a bad thing if backed with competence. FDR was firmly on the Left, but he led the nation to eventual victory in World War II. Ronald Reagan was an unapologetic conservative, but revived America’s morale and drove the Soviet Union to its collapse.
On the existential issue of border security, the Biden Administration has proved as incompetent as it is partisan. Under questioning from Senator Graham about the 1.7 million foreign nationals who have illegally entered the country this year, Mayorkas could not account for 230,000 of them. There is a group of recent illegal aliens in our country larger than the population of Spokane, Washington, and our DHS has no idea where they are.
When asked about our military’s disastrous retreat from Afghanistan, Mayorkas claimed “well over 99 percent” of Afghans who boarded U.S. planes were vetted before or during the flights. After being pressed to confirm that dubious claim, Mayorkas backtracked and said “I can’t speak to that.”
On the Biden policy of catch-and-release, Mayorkas claimed that “the great majority” of those released show up for their immigration court hearings. After Cruz produced a report showing that only 13 percent show up, Mayorkas gave irrelevant data and said he needed to verify his numbers later. Why doesn’t the head of DHS have such data memorized and ready to discuss?
America may have never had such a poisonous combination of partisanship and incompetence at the highest levels of government as it does today. How the American people react will determine whether this is a shameful aberration or a preview of our future.
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Brian Lonergan is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.