Nadler Opening Statement for Hearing on "The Border Crisis: Is the Law Being Faithfully Executed?"
Washington, June 7, 2023
Washington, D.C. - Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following opening statement, as prepared, during a Subcommittee on Immigration, Integrity, Security and Enforcement hearing on “The Border Crisis: Is the Law Being Faithfully Executed?:”
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It took just over five months, but the day that so many of my Republican colleagues have waited for has finally arrived. Today, Judiciary Republicans are laying the groundwork to impeach the Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
“To be clear: they do not allege wrongdoing or malfeasance of any kind. They are simply catering to the most extreme members of their caucus, who have demanded impeachment of somebody—anybody—as the price of their support for the Speaker, and they have decided to make their first target Secretary Mayorkas. Why? Because they have policy disagreements. But no matter how much they may dislike him, that is not a basis for impeachment.
“The Republicans are so desperate to begin impeachment, however, that they are even jockeying for position on who gets to take the lead. Today’s hearing—just like the first immigration hearing we held—appears to be the latest spat in the ongoing turf war between Chairman Jordan and Chairman Green of the Homeland Security Committee.
“Just a couple of weeks ago, House Homeland Security noted that they are taking a lead role in building the case for impeachment through a “five-phase accountability plan” before handing it off to the Judiciary Committee. In furtherance of this plan, just this morning, they noticed a Full Committee hearing entitled, “Open Borders, Closed Case: Secretary Mayorkas’ Dereliction of Duty on the Border Crisis.” Not to be outdone, Chairman Jordan raced to announce this hearing to ensure that we beat the Homeland Security Committee by a few days.
But this is not a serious process. As Ranking Member Jayapal noted, we have still not had a single government witness come before the Committee on the issue of immigration.
“Instead, my Republican colleagues continue to hide behind the use of transcribed interviews to talk to agency officials, seemingly afraid to have public hearings.
“And despite all the evidence to the contrary, we are still hearing the same claims that we heard at our first immigration hearing this year—that the southern border is open, that President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas opened it deliberately, and that it is mostly migrants who are smuggling drugs across our southern border.
“Yet, as my colleagues and I have discussed for months, none of those statements are true.
“Far from having an open border, the Biden administration used Title 42 to expel migrants—with no due process—for significantly longer than many of my colleagues on the committee felt was appropriate.
“The administration also has recently enacted a new asylum regulation that we are concerned limits access to asylum. That regulation even earned the administration rare praise from Chairman Jordan. These are not the policies of an open border. They are the opposite.
“But my Republican colleagues are not ones to let facts get in the way of their Fox News talking points. Certainly not the fact that encounters on the border have plummeted in recent weeks, thanks to new policies put in place.
“There is a lot that the Biden administration is doing on immigration that I support. For example, the use of parole, expansion of legal pathways, revamping of the refugee program, and opening up new regional processing centers in the hemisphere are all positive steps to repairing our broken immigration system. And there are some policies I do not like. But that is the point. We have policy disagreements.
“But you do not impeach a cabinet secretary because you do not like their policies. You work to pass legislation. You conduct oversight. You try to work in a constructive manner to convince your colleagues that you have the better argument.
“We need to work in a bipartisan way to fix our immigration system, not pass messaging bills that have no chance of being enacted into law and embark on a purely political impeachment process.
“I would note that we now know for certain that the Republicans’ extreme, cruel, and unworkable border bill cannot pass the Senate. As part of the time agreement to ensure that we did not default for the first time in history, Senate Republicans demanded a vote on H.R. 2, the Republicans’ border bill. The bill got 46 Yes votes and 51 No votes, encountering bipartisan opposition. That bill is a non-starter.
“Are my colleagues on the other side ready to sit down and discuss how we move forward with bipartisan immigration legislation? As I noted in our first hearing, Judiciary Committee Democrats stand ready to work on meaningful solutions to serious problems.
“Unfortunately, instead it appears that the next sideshow is beginning today. And make no mistake, as the Ranking Member noted, it is clear that Chairman Jordan and members of the Committee have already made up their minds. Instead of serious solutions to solve complex problems, we will simply engage in more political theater.
“I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today, and I yield back the balance of my time.”