House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green (R-TN) on Thursday accused Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas of caring more about Mexico than his own country.

The congressman said it was “telling” that the secretary rejected calls to meet with the House committee to meet with Mexican officials instead. The comment comes after the committee sent multiple requests for Mayorkas to testify in front of the House, which had largely gone unanswered.

House Committee Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) talks during a committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

“It is deeply troubling that Secretary Mayorkas has refused the Committee’s multiple requests to appear before a co-equal branch of government,” Green said in a statement.

“For months, we have tried to work with his office to secure his testimony before the Committee so the American people can receive some much-needed transparency about the causes, costs, and consequences of the unprecedented border crisis,” he said. 

He continued, *“*It’s certainly telling that one of the primary excuses Secretary Mayorkas gave us for declining to appear next week is that he must host a delegation of Mexican officials. Yet again, this Secretary is putting the interests of Mexico ahead of the American people. Apparently, he needs to be reminded that Congress is a co-equal branch of government, and our Committee, not Mexico, has oversight over his department.”

Mayorkas has since said he would set aside time to testify in front of the House, but he rejected the request to testify on Jan. 18, 2024. No new time has been proposed. Mayorkas also declined to testify after receiving letters in August and September. 

“In keeping with the secretary’s commitment to cooperate with Congressional Committees, he will make himself available to testify before the Committee,” Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Zephranie Buetow wrote in a letter on Mayorkas’s behalf. “Consistent with the customary accommodations process, we look forward to working through the details with Committee staff and agreeing upon the date and structure of the hearing.”

The exchange comes amid an attempt to impeach the secretary over the border crisis and his alleged dereliction of duty. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) first introduced articles of impeachment against Mayorkas in November, but they failed a floor vote and were sent to the Homeland Security Committee instead. The committee had its first hearing on the impeachment on Wednesday.

Since last January, when Republicans took control of the House, the committee has conducted 15 hearings on the border crisis in addition to other border-related hearings before other panels. Five of the 15 hearings were part of the committee’s effort to investigate whether Mayorkas was derelict of duty. 

Some Democrats, including Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), have pushed back on the committee’s initial focus on investigating Mayorkas based on dereliction of duty, saying it’s not a high crime or misdemeanor.

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