By Bethany Blankley (The Center Square)

Ahead of U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ expected testimony before Congress next week, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, is asking him to answer several questions about the border crisis.

In a letter to the secretary, Gaetz asked Mayorkas to explain what his plan is to increase deportations, to provide information about where the federal government is sending illegal immigrants, who is making the decision on where they are being sent, and how they are being tracked. Mayorkas is scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Committee next week.

“Securing borders and deciding who may be permitted lawful entry is the prime directive of any sovereign nation,” Gaetz wrote. The Biden administration’s open border policies are “an attack” on U.S. sovereignty, and a “conscious decision to rewrite the rules of civilization, dissolve our borders, undermine our nation state, and displace our people.

“It is well documented that illegal immigrants are showing up at our southern border and fraudulently claiming asylum to be granted entry,” he added. Since Biden took office, Gaetz said, “544,241 aliens who were in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection have been released into the interior. These aliens are being bused and flown all over the country,” including Florida.

Under Mayorkas’ leadership, deportations of illegal immigrants in the U.S. “have come to a halt,” he added, at a rate of deporting 4,300 people per month.

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“It would take 14.5 years to deport just the aliens DHS has released under the Biden Administration, when we have near 1.9 million aliens eligible for deportation currently,” he added.

DHS has previously acknowledged that it’s lost track of at least 45,000 unaccompanied minors who illegally crossed the border into the U.S. during a five-month period last year; 40% of roughly 114,000 unaccompanied minors, Axios first reported.

The agency also admitted that more than 50,000 illegal immigrants released into the U.S. by Immigration and Customs Enforcement failed to report to their deportation proceedings during a five-month period analyzed last year.

Gaetz’ letter comes after Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and other attorneys general have called for Mayorkas’ resignation after he’s drastically altered or halted immigration policy, hamstringing federal agents from enforcing laws passed by Congress.

Congressmen like Andy Biggs from Arizona, and Chip Roy and Michael Cloud from Texas, have called for Mayorkas to be impeached, arguing he’s failed to uphold his constitutional oath, and the most basic aspect of his job: to secure the homeland.

Moody and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have been aggressively fighting the administration over the past year on illegal immigration.

DeSantis said in February that Florida didn’t “want to be facilitating very harmful policies not only in terms of the rule of law, not only in terms of what drug cartels may be introducing into our country, but also the treatment of people who are basically being trafficked as what is effectively the largest human smuggling operation in American history.”

Mayorkas last year announced a plan to protect “stateless individuals,” pledging to “reduce barriers to accessing legal immigration status and associated benefits.”

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ICE also announced its plan to transfer and monitor 18- and 19 year-old illegal immigrants into U.S. communities “while promoting compliance with immigration obligations and release conditions” as they “await final determination of their immigration cases,” instead of complying with a court order to reinstate the Remain in Mexico policy, where these individuals would remain until their immigration process was completed.

At a January border summit in Edinburgh, Texas, Moody said, “When I took office, I never dreamed I would be having to fight against my own government to help me in my job as attorney general to protect my citizens.”

The Biden administration has been “releasing those here illegally that were committing crimes in our states in violation of federal law,” Moody said. “Or they were cancelling operations going after those here illegally that were sexual predators. Now we know they are building a massive, clandestine smuggling operation outside the confines of law across our nation.

“We cannot have a federal government that is not following the law but is actively working against those of us that are charged with protecting our citizens and our states.”

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.