In The News

Rep. Gohmert's Letter to DHS Secretary Mayorkas: Secure the Border

The Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas                         

Secretary                                                                      

U.S. Department of Homeland Security        

Washington, D.C. 20528

 

Dear Secretary Mayorkas,

 

On December 9, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its request for

public comment on how the U.S. Government can prevent family separations at the U.S. border.[1]  In a brazen display that can only be described as misleading virtue signaling, the Department further clarified that it was seeking public recommendations “on how to permanently protect against the prior administration’s practice of intentionally separating families at the border to deter others from migrating to the United States.”[2]

 

It is beyond insulting for an executive agency, charged with the duty of securing the homeland, to feign ignorance of the systemic issues at hand and solicit solutions from the American people who continue to suffer daily on account of your willful failure to do what is required by law and necessary to both protect our citizens and minimize separations that occur due to the Biden Administration’s intentional failure to secure our nation’s southern border. 

The answer to this problem you pose to the public is, as you know well, quite simple:  secure the border.  If the solution is quite simple—and it certainly is—then what is the problem?  The problem is that we have an executive branch full of individuals who have no interest in securing the border, as evident from overt omissions.  Now, DHS, under your leadership, has taken its negligence a step further to deflect its responsibilities onto the public.  This is, quite simply, disgraceful.    

As many of us have pointed out in many prior letters and interactions, often receiving no actual answers to our inquiries at all, border crossings remain unsustainably high.  As you are well aware by now, attempted crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border remain at historically high levels not experienced in at least decades.  Just this past November, there were 173,620 encounters along the Southwest border, a 5% increase from just the month prior.[3]  Of the individuals involved in these encounters, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) reports that 25% have had at least one prior encounter in the previous 12 months, compared to an average one-year reencounter rate of 13% for FY2014-2019.[4]

Why historically high levels of illegal crossings that have continued since Joe Biden was sworn in as President of the United States?  Why now?  Could it be that the posture of this administration has signaled to the world that illegal entry will not only be tolerated but even welcome?  In fact, we believe DHS communicates this very open-door posture in the relevant announcement when it alleges that the separation of children at the border was done intentionally by the prior administration “to deter migration.”[5]  This unfounded accusation is completely lacking merit, as a rudimentary historical analysis demonstrates.  That said, since the migration referred to is undisputedly overwhelmingly illegal, the strong implication that DHS gives is that it does not wish to deter such (illegal) migration.  Put another way, DHS under your leadership is inviting foreigners to break the duly elected laws that the people of this nation, through their elected representatives, rightly determined.  It is the people through the legislatures they elect that have the authority under the U.S. Constitution to create laws—not you and not the President of the United States.    

To continue to perpetuate the mistruth that separations at the border began with President Trump and his administration is an affront to the facts, which we can only assume you are acquainted with, occupying the high position that you do.  Crossing the border illegally is a crime.  When President Trump decided to enforce the laws, as he was sworn to do, he was doing his duty.  As is the case when adult citizens of the United States break the laws of our nation, the resulting consequence is very often family separation.  Nobody celebrates this reality, and yet few would put the bulk of the blame for such separation on those who enforce the law, but rather on those who willfully break the law and, in doing, often leave their children without one or both parents, at least for a time.  By aligning yourself in word and deed against the enforcement of the law as a matter of policy, you are aligning yourself against the interests of the American people.  Should you need this basic reality clarified, we would be happy to brief you.    

We issue these comments on behalf of ourselves and so many of our constituents who we hear from continually on the issue of our open southern border.  The feedback we receive from our constituents is overwhelmingly not about what President Trump allegedly did to separate families.  It is about what you and the Biden Administration are not doing to secure our southern border, and thereby allowing this humanitarian crisis to fester in our own nation and those of our neighbors.  Like these constituents and so many in our nation, we remain deeply concerned about this unlawful, manmade humanitarian and national crisis that is being facilitated on our southern border.  Our concern is informed not only by such alarming data, as reported by media outlets including The Washington Post and CNN, but also the observations made by many Members of Congress while at the border.  Many Members of Congress have attested that there is a huge influx of women and children.  These increased levels do not merely suggest more illegal crossings, but greatly increased related criminality, including human and drug trafficking and smuggling. 

Regarding the human cost, which includes children trafficked by criminals posing as a parent or guardian, the cumulative suffering inflicted on these individuals will never be completely ascertained due to the clandestine nature of the cartels, gangs, traffickers and smugglers.  Once on U.S. soil, and despite the dedication of our CBP officers and state officials, these illegal aliens are often subjected to “poor conditions,” as CNN reports.  We are quite simply not prepared to handle such an extreme increase in illegal entries into our nation that should be thwarted rather than encouraged.  It is also difficult to quantify the enormous impacts to our citizens in border states who continue to suffer property damage and loss, as well as threats to their own safety and that of their families and neighbors. 

Yet again, we reiterate that members of the executive branch have a duty and many have sworn an oath that would include the requirement to carry out the lawfully enacted legislation under the Constitution.  With an open border facilitating illegal entry into our nation and the manifold resulting criminalities, the executive branch is failing miserably in its duty.  Rather than own up to your failure and reverse course, you seem to have adopted another questionable approach:  impose your failure onto the public you are charged with serving by giving them the responsibility of answering a question for which the answer is already evident.   

Here's our comment summarized:  if you are serious about not separating families at the border, you will be as serious about securing our southern border.  If you continue to willfully and intentionally fail to do the latter, we will understand your claim to care about families at the border as what it appears to be on its face, shameless posturing and egregious blame shifting onto the public you are charged with serving. 

 

Sincerely,

Louie Gohmert

United States Representative



[1] U.S. Department of Homeland Security, DHS to Request Public Input on How the U.S. Government Can Prevent Family Separations at the U.S. Border, (Dec. 9, 2021), available at https://www.dhs.gov/news/2021/12/09/dhs-request-public-input-how-us-government-can-prevent-family-separations-us-border (accessed Dec. 17, 2021).

[2] Id.

[3] U.S. Customs and Border Protection, CBP Releases November 2021 Monthly Operational Update, (Dec. 17, 2021), available at https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/national-media-release/cbp-releases-november-2021-monthly-operational-update (accessed Dec. 17, 2021).

[4] Id.

[5] U.S. Department of Homeland Security, DHS to Request Public Input on How the U.S. Government Can Prevent Family Separations at the U.S. Border, (Dec. 9, 2021), available at https://www.dhs.gov/news/2021/12/09/dhs-request-public-input-how-us-government-can-prevent-family-separations-us-border (accessed Dec. 17, 2021).