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Tag: Alejandro Mayorkas

Heads of FBI, Homeland Security Issue Statements Following School Shooting in Texas

FBI Director Christopher Wray, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director Christopher Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued statements Wednesday following the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. 

Here is Wray’s statement:

“Yesterday we got the news we all dread. Parents received calls that are too devastating to even fathom. And a community, really the whole nation, was shaken by another horrific mass shooting. This time—once again—at an elementary school full of young children just days away from finishing the school year.

“My heart goes out to the families of the victims and to the entire community in Uvalde. I know you’re experiencing unimaginable pain and trauma. The entire FBI family feels your heartbreak and stands with you. There will certainly be more we learn about this heinous attack in the days ahead, and I know the American people—and especially the people of Uvalde—are looking for answers.

“I want to acknowledge the heroism of all law enforcement who responded immediately to the scene. For our part, the FBI will continue to work around the clock with the Texas Department of Public Safety; the Uvalde Police Department; and our other state, local, and federal partners to assist in any way we can. We’re dedicating the full resources of the FBI San Antonio Field Office and a host of other FBI Divisions to helping the Texas DPS and Uvalde PD, which have the lead in the investigation.

“On top of that, we’ve deployed national resources, including investigative and analytical support, evidence response and laboratory personnel, victim services professionals to assist families of the victims, and crisis management and behavioral analysis units.

“We’re absolutely heartbroken about yesterday’s tragic events and committed to doing our part to support our partners in the investigation and the Uvalde community as we begin to try to move forward.”

Here is Mayorkas’ statement:

“No words can come close to comforting the families of those lost in Uvalde yesterday. We at the Department of Homeland Security are horrified by this callous act of violence. We grieve for the families and loved ones of the children and teachers lost, and with the people of the community of Uvalde. We are hopeful for the full and fast recovery of those who suffered injuries.

“We are grateful for the courageous members of our Border Patrol, many of whom are part of the Uvalde and surrounding communities, who immediately responded to the scene along with local and state law enforcement. Without hesitation, they put themselves between the shooter and students to end the bloodshed and administer medical aid. Without question, their heroism yesterday saved lives. A Border Patrol Agent was injured in the crossfire yesterday and we know the loss and trauma from this tragedy will continue to impact many other CBP families for a long time to come.

“The Department will continue coordinating with federal, state, and local partners and offering our full support to the Uvalde community. As we pray for the families and loved ones and recognize the bravery of frontline law enforcement personnel, we must redouble our collective efforts to make our communities safer.”

McCarthy Warns of Possible Impeachment of Mayorkas over Immigration

Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

By Steve Neavling

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Republicans may try to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. 

McCarthy made the statement Monday during a visit to the southern border, The Hill reports

“This is his moment in time to do his job,” McCarthy said. “But at any time if someone is derelict in their job, there is always the option of impeaching somebody.”

Mayorkas is scheduled to testify before the House on Wednesday and Thursday. 

Republicans are opposed to lifting Title 42, which has allowed the U.S. to deny asylum-seekers a hearing.

The Biden administration said it plans to lift Title 42 on May 23. 

Mayoraka’s “first response to us should be, ‘We should not lift Title 42,’ ” McCarthy said. “They’re not prepared to protect, and we cannot sustain what will happen to this nation.” 

Although Democrats have a slim majority in the House, that could change in the November mid-terms, which would make impeachment far more likely. 

Border Patrol Agents Vent Frustrations with DHS Secretary Mayorkas in Tense Meeting

Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

By Steve Neavling

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas received an icy reception with frustrated Border Patrol agents from the Yuma Sector in Arizona on Wednesday. 

As Mayorkas discussed the Biden administration’s immigration policies, agents complained about the lack of action against the influx of undocumented immigrants at the Mexico border, according to audio obtained by Townhall.

 Mayoraks acknowledged the challenges facing the agents. 

“The job has not gotten any easier over the last few months and it was very, very difficult throughout 2021,” Mayorkas said in the recording. “I know apprehending families and kids is not what you signed up to do. And now we got a composition that is changing even more with Cubans, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, and the like, it just gets more difficult.”

Mayorkas said Homeland Security is trying to stem the flow of immigrants by working with the Mexican government. 

“I know the policies of this administration are not particularly popular with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, but that’s the reality and let’s see what we can do within that framework,” Mayorkas said.

When Mayorkas was asked how border security remains the primary mission of Border Patrol if agents aren’t able to patrol the borders, he responded that the agency is doing its best to give agents the resources they need. 

As he answered the question, an agent turned his back on Mayorkas, according to people present at the meeting. 

“Let me just say, you can turn your back on me but I’ll never turn my back on you,” Mayorkas said. 

The agent responded that Mayorkas was the first to turn his back on agents. 

Homeland Securities Offers Thousands of Dollars to Hackers to Find Vulnerabilities

By Steve Neavling

The Department of Homeland Security is offering hackers thousands of dollars to identify vulnerabilities in its computer systems. 

The bug bounty program, called Hack DHS, is aimed at helping the agency discover vulnerabilities that could be exploited by bad actors. 

Payments will range from $500 to $5,000, with the biggest payouts going to hackers who find the most severe bugs. 

“As the federal government’s cybersecurity quarterback, DHS must lead by example and constantly seek to strengthen the security of our own systems,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a statement.  “The Hack DHS program incentivizes highly skilled hackers to identify cybersecurity weaknesses in our systems before they can be exploited by bad actors.  This program is one example of how the Department is partnering with the community to help protect our Nation’s cybersecurity.” 

Homeland Security launched its first bug bounty program in 2019. 

As Vaccine Deadline Looms, Some Lawmakers Want an Exemption for Border Patrol Agents to Avoid Mass Exodus

Border Patrol agent. Photo: CBP

By Steve Neavling

With less than a month before all federal employees must be vaccinated, some lawmakers are calling for an exemption for Border Patrol agents, saying national security is at stake. 

U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzalez, R-Texas, wrote a letter, cosigned by 43 other Republican lawmakers, that calls on Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to avoid enforcing the vaccine mandate to prevent a mass exodus of agents and other CBP employees.

“Our men and women in the Border Patrol have worked tirelessly to manage the crisis at our southern border,” the letter states. “This year especially, they have been subject to extraordinary amounts of mental and physical stress. With morale at an all-time low, this mandate will serve as the last straw for agents who can easily leave the agency for other law enforcement organizations at the state and local level or retire.”

President Biden’s mandate requires all federal employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 22.  

“As a (Homeland Security) federal employee, you must be fully vaccinated by November 22, 2021, unless you have received or have requested an exemption for religious or medical reasons,” the DHS website states. “All DHS federal employees, including those who seek an exemption from the vaccination requirement for religious or medical reasons, must provide their vaccination status, upload proof of vaccination and certify the truthfulness of your vaccination status and proof.”

The mandate comes at a time when a record number of migrants are crossing the border. 

Meanwhile, retired Border Patrol Agent Juan Garcia, who worked in the El Centro and Yuma sectors, died from COVID-19 complications, KYMA reports.

“Agent Juan Garcia was a strong, quiet man who would sacrifice his life for his fellow agents and citizens at a moment’s notice and without hesitation,” Border Patrol said in a statement. “He served his country and community by taking on the sometimes thankless job of protecting the U.S. border.”

Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas Tests Positive for COVID-19

Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

By Steve Neavling

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who is fully vaccinated, tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. 

“Secretary Mayorkas tested positive this morning for the COVID-19 virus after taking a test as part of routine pre-travel protocols,” spokesperson Marsha Espinosa said in a statement, CBS News reports. “Secretary Mayorkas is experiencing only mild congestion.”

Mayorkas plans to work from home. In the meantime, contact tracing is underway. 

On Saturday, Mayorkas attended the annual National Police Officers’ Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol with President Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, FBI Director Christopher Wray and other high-ranking officials. 

Mayorkas had a COVID-19 scare in July, when he worked from home after having close contact with a DHS employee who tested positive for the virus. 

Mayorkas had planned to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. It’s unclear if he still plans to appear remotely. 

Homeland Security’s Chief of Staff Karen Olick Resigns to ‘Pursue New Opportunities’

Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

By Steve Neavling

Karen Olick, chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, announced on Monday that she’s resigning at the end of the month, citing an undisclosed opportunity. 

She will be replaced on an interim basis by Jennifer Higgins, associate director of Refugee, Asylum and International Operations at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DHS officials told Politico.

In an email, Olick said, “Though too often underappreciated by our fellow citizens, I am continually struck by how many millions of Americans sleep in safety every night because so many at DHS do not sleep.” 

In a separate email, Mayorkas notified staff that Olick “has decided to resign her position and pursue new opportunities. We are grateful to Karen for her service during the critical first nine months of the new Administration.”

Olick most recently worked for SKDK, the Democratic-centric political communications firm. 

Her departure comes as Homeland Security grapples with a high number of migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Members of Congress Demand Answers Following Blistering Report on Border Patrol in Michigan

Photo: CBP

By Steve Neavling

Two members of Congress are calling on the Homeland Security director to address alarming allegations in a Michigan ACLU report that accused Border Patrol of “blatant racial profiling.”

The report, which is based on thousands of pages of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, says 85% of noncitizens apprehended by agents were from Latin America, even though more than 70% of those arrested in Michigan for entering the U.S. without authorization from Canada were Canadian citizens or originally from Europe. It also revealed that more than 96% of the people apprehended by Border Patrol agents were recorded as being “Black,” “Dark Brown,” “Dark,” Light Brown,” “Medium Brown,” “Medium,” or yellow.”

In a letter to Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Jamie Raskin, D-Md., accused Border Patrol agents of focusing more on harassing immigrant communities than enforcing the law. 

“Taken together, these findings suggest that CBP’s operations in Michigan are focused less on its lawful enforcement priorities than on harassing longtime residents of Michigan in a way that systematically and disproportionately target those of Latin American origin,” Tlaib and Raskin wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

Tlaib and Raskin want a meeting with Mayorkas to address the report’s findings. 

“We are deeply troubled by what appear to be discriminatory abuses of authority and misuse of taxpayer funds,” they wrote. “DHS must provide a full explanation of exactly how it is addressing the problems laid bare by the ACLU.”