FIRST ON FOX: Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee on Friday subpoenaed Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for case files of illegal immigrants charged with serious crimes including murder and terrorism.
In a cover letter, obtained by Fox News Digital, Chairman Jim Jordan says that the committee has been seeking the alien files (A-files) of 14 illegal immigrants “charged with serious crimes, such as theft, brutal assault, murder, and terrorism-related charges.”
“The Committee has followed up on its requests – the vast majority of which have remained outstanding for months on end – regularly and on numerous occasions,” Jordan says.
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However, he says that there have only been partial summaries of two A-files produced, with only limited productions. Since then, the committee wrote to DHS in November seeking the outstanding 14 documents, but says it has not received anything.
“Your response without compulsory process has, to date, been woefully inadequate,” Jordan says.
Jordan says the Supreme Court has recognized that Congress has broad power to conduct oversight and the committee has jurisdiction to conduct oversight of matters relating to federal immigration law.
“These potential legislative reforms could include, among other proposals, legislation to enhance the vetting of aliens to ensure criminal aliens are not released into American communities and proposals to end mass catch-and-release. The information the Committee has requested is necessary to inform such potential reforms and to understand DHS’s current application of the immigration laws,” he says.
“Accordingly, and in light of your disregard of our earlier voluntary requests, please find attached a subpoena for the requested documents and information,” he says. Mayorkas is required by the subpoena to produce the documents to the committee on Jan. 8.
A DHS official told Fox News Digital that such requests are incredibly time-consuming, with A-files often being thousands of pages long and in need of redaction – including law enforcement sensitive information that could jeopardize investigations, attorney-client information, and information about junior DHS employees. The official said it is for this reason that the department has provided summaries as an interim response.
The official also pointed to DHS’s efforts to comply with congressional requests, including the availability of 50 witnesses in over 30 hearings, 20 personnel for transcribed interviews and more than 24,000 pages of documents and responses to over 1,400 congressional letters.
“DHS has worked hard to accommodate the Committee’s request, including providing briefings and responsive materials. The Department also communicated to the Committee that we will provide additional files as they become available. Instead of working with us, they have escalated to a subpoena, yet again,” a DHS spokesperson told Fox News Digital.
“DHS will continue cooperating with Congress on its oversight requests, while working to protect our nation from terrorism and targeted violence, secure our borders, respond to natural disasters, defend against cyberattacks, and more,” they said.
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The subpoena marks the latest escalation of efforts by House Republicans to investigate the ongoing crisis at the southern border, where new records have been set for migrant traffic. Republicans have hammered the administration, and specifically Mayorkas, over the crisis — which they say has been caused by the policies of the administration.
Specifically, they point to an increase in “catch-and-release,” reduced interior enforcement, the ending of border wall construction, and other rollbacks of Trump-era policies. House Republicans have introduced and passed their own legislation that would restart border wall construction and limit asylum and the use of parole.
The Biden administration, meanwhile, has said it is dealing with a hemisphere-wide crisis and is working within a “broken” system that needs additional funding and comprehensive immigration reform from Congress.
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The White House has requested over $14 billion in supplemental border funding, but it is currently being negotiated in Congress as Republicans are seeking limits to the use of humanitarian parole by the administration and stricter standards for initial asylum screenings. Democrats have balked at that idea, with some saying it would need to be accompanied by amnesty for some illegal immigrants already in the U.S.
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President Biden this week said that he is open to “significant compromises,” while Mayorkas has said that some GOP proposals were worthy of consideration while others were not.
The subpoena comes just hours after Judiciary Committee Republicans also pushed for more information on a migrant surge in Texas in Sept. 20, and the cutting of razor wire set up by the state of Texas by federal officials.