WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) spoke on the Senate floor to express concerns regarding the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
To watch Senator Blackburn’s speech, click below or here.
You can read the transcript recorded in the Congressional Records below or click here.
MRS. BLACKBURN: Mr. President, ahead of our votes today, I wanted to
echo the concerns that have already been voiced by many of my
colleagues in this Chamber regarding the nomination of Alejandro
Mayorkas to be the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
At this point, we are all very familiar with his long legacy of
service on behalf of people of the United States, so I will just
highlight one example of the ``value'' that he will bring to the table
should the Senate vote to confirm him.
When he served as USCIS Director during the Obama administration, the
inspector general was forced to investigate an ``extraordinary'' number
of internal allegations that Mayorkas was granting ``special access and
special favors'' to wealthy EB-5 ``investor visa'' applicants linked to
When the IG took a closer look at the visa applications for three
powerful Chinese nationals in particular, they came to the conclusion
that if Mayorkas hadn't intervened, and I am quoting, ``the matter
would have been decided differently.''
Now, this is something that we know is inappropriate. We know that
this is something for which Mr. Mayorkas should be held accountable. We
know that this is something for which he has not been held accountable,
and here is what he did: He put his thumb on the scale, pressured his
DHS colleagues--pressured his DHS colleagues--to break their own rules
and turn the law on its head, all because a few powerful friends asked
him to do it. He pressured others for the benefit of some powerful
friends, and it is all there for everyone to read in the inspector
general's report, and he was never held accountable. Yet, here we are,
being asked to support his nomination to the President's Cabinet.
There are plenty of policy differences between myself and Mr.
Mayorkas that have convinced me I have no choice but to stand in
opposition to his confirmation. But the example I just cited, in
particular, gives me additional serious concerns about how his
influence would affect the integrity of the Agency.
Just last week, I joined several of my colleagues in a letter to the
senior Senator from Illinois, asking him to exercise his judgment as
the incoming chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and allow for a
second hearing so we could examine Mr. Mayorkas's record thoroughly
because, while I believe that the President has every right to assemble
his Cabinet, I also believe that the American people have every right
to understand exactly who is being put in charge of enforcing our Nation's immigration laws and
keeping our border secure, enforcing counterterrorism measures and
keeping an eye on the country's cybersecurity. And the current nominee?
Never held accountable for showing favor to some friends in high
places. That is not the way this is supposed to be.
I would urge my colleagues to consider the American people--the
taxpayers who are footing the bill for every salary that is given to
every individual working with the Federal Government. What is the
standard? What do they expect from their leaders?
Thereby, I oppose the nomination.
I yield my time.