DHS Sec. Mayorkas Says He 'Honestly' Believes Border is Closed in Tense Senate Exchange

Nick Kangadis | September 21, 2021

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) didn’t let his turn to question Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas go to waste. Johnson absolutely grilled DHS head concerning the crisis at the U.S. southern border.

It appeared that Johnson came to prepared with data to ask Mayorkas about at Tuesday’s Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, while Mayorkas looked to have none-to-very-little data with which to respond.

After rattling off some statistics concerning the porous U.S. southern border, Johnson asked if Mayorkas actually thinks his previous statements that the border are not open is true.

“You have repeatedly stated that our borders are not open, they’re closed,” Johnson began his first question. “Do you honestly believe that our borders are closed?”

“Um, Senator, I do,” Mayorkas responded to Johnson’s bewilderment.

Johnson then went on the offensive and the exchange with Mayorkas got tense.

“Let me ask you, Mister Secretary,” Johnson continued after citing more statistics, “of the 1.3 million people that we’ve apprehended, how many people have been returned? How many people have been detained? And how many people have been dispersed? And I want some numbers here.”

Johnson repeated the questions so that there was no confusion as to what he wanted Mayorkas to answer. But, the secretary’s answer only angered Johnson.

“Senator, I would be pleased to provide you with that data…” Mayorkas said before Johnson cut him off.

“I want them now!” Johnson interjected. “Why don’t you have that information now?”

“Senator, I do not have that data before me,” responded Mayorkas.

“Why not?” Johnson asked. “Why don’t you have that basic information?”

Johnson and Mayorkas went back and forth for a couple of minutes, and Mayorkas disputed data that Johnson put forth. Johnson wondered how Mayorkas could dispute the data he was presenting if he didn’t know or didn’t have any numbers in front of him as he previously claimed.

Mayorkas responded with bureaucratic jibber-jabber and never actually answered Johnson’s question.

Johnson pivoted the rest of his time to talk about Afghanistan before the exchange ended.

For the full exchange, watch below: