Senators Ask Why Mayorkas’ DHS Withheld Visa Overstays, Afghan Evacuee Vetting Reports

The Epoch Times | by Mark Tapscott | December 28, 2021

Two vital Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reports were not given to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs (HSGAC) despite being required by law to do so, according to two Republican senators.

The 2020 Entry/Exit Overstay Report on visas held by foreign individuals residing in the United States has been published on the DHS web site for each of the past five years. But Senators James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) want to know why DHS did not do so for the 2020 report.

“As you may be aware, the FY 2021 funding package mandated that this report be sent to our Committee, which has oversight over DHS and over the Entry/Exit system. DHS also failed to meet a November 30 deadline to submit a congressionally mandated report over its vetting of Afghan evacuees,” Lankford and Hawley told DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a Dec. 21 letter that was made public Tuesday.

“These reports hold vital information for our oversight work of your department and for the public as the American people seek to assess the impact of the Biden Administration’s immigration enforcement efforts. Your continued delay in providing these reports violates the law and raises significant questions about your commitment to uphold the laws Congress enacts,” the senators told Mayorkas.

The senators said they are concerned that Mayorkas is withholding the report from the HSGAC for partisan political reasons.

“We are concerned that DHS did not publish the FY 2020 Entry/Exit Overstay Report on a public website out of concerns that this report would complicate the conversation around the ‘Plan C’ amnesty proposals in the Democrats’ partisan reconciliation package,” the letter said.

“As you are aware, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the President’s ‘Build Back Better’ (BBB) proposal on a party-line vote. This bill would offer parole to illegal immigrants who have continuously resided in the United States since January 1, 2011.

“This parole would put these illegal immigrants on the path to citizenship. The bill passed by the House and currently under consideration in the Senate would offer this parole benefit to illegal border crossers and to visa overstays–the same population included in the Department’s missing report.

“The Plan C parole provision of President Joe Biden’s proposal is at the center of controversy within the Senate as the Senate Parliamentarian has ruled it cannot be included in a version of BBB that may yet be considered by the Senate because it does not satisfy Senate rules for budget reconciliation legislation.

“The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that over 6.5 million illegal immigrants would receive amnesty under the Build Back Better plan. The DHS estimates in the FY 2020 Entry/Exit Overstay Report may complicate existing estimates about the number of illegal immigrants who would receive parole under the Build Back Better plan,” the senators wrote, “and we are concerned that the department’s efforts to hide this number from the public are nothing more than a political cover for the Build Back Better plan’s radical, open border policies and provisions.”

The two senators asked Mayorkas to answer three questions:

  • Why did DHS not post the FY 2020 Entry/Exit Visa Overstay report on the public website where it has posted the five prior years’ reports?
  • Why did DHS not include the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs as a recipient on this report, even though Congress mandated that HSGAC receive this report?
  • Did DHS not share this report with the public out of concerns that it would impact the debate around the partisan amnesty provisions in President Biden’s reconciliation bill?

A spokesman for Mayokas did not respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment on the Lankford-Hawley letter.

Even without the roadblock put up by the Senate Parliamentarian to the Plan C provision of the BBB reconciliation package, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has all but killed the proposal’s chances for passage this year.

The Senate is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris providing the tie-breaking vote. But with Manchin opposing the BBB package, the vote would be 51-49 against, meaning Harris would not be able to cast the deciding vote in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Senate Democrats have pledged to seek alternative approaches in 2022 to getting the BBB before the Senate for a vote, either as one proposal or as a series of piecemeal proposals.

Source: Senators Ask Why Mayorkas’ DHS Withheld Visa Overstays, Afghan Evacuee Vetting Reports (theepochtimes.com)

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