Lankford Concerned Mayorkas’ Testimony Contradicts New DHS Initiative

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas after evidence surfaced that contradicted the testimony Mayorkas gave while Lankford questioned him during a Senate Homeland Security hearing in September 2021. Mayorkas testified that ICE would enforce the law and deport individuals who received a “Notice to Report” but did not report to ICE. Recent reporting on a new DHS initiative called Operation Horizon shows that ICE is not enforcing the law against the illegal border crossers who have not followed instructions and reported to ICE within 60-days.

Lankford stated in the letter, “…those documents read: ‘Don’t worry if you are past the 60-day deadline to report from the time you entered the United States. Come in so you can help ensure the best outcome for your case.’ Another document reads: ‘Unless you have committed a serious crime, or the government thinks you may be a risk to the United States, YOU WILL NOT [emphasis in the original document] be taken into custody during the appointment.’”

Mayorkas will testify at a Senate Judiciary hearing tomorrow morning.

Lankford continued, “It has come to my attention that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the component of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that is responsible for enforcing immigration law in the interior of the United States, has begun a new initiative known as Operation Horizon. Under Operation Horizon, ICE is working to serve Notices to Appear in immigration court to over 78,000 migrants who have illegally crossed the border, were processed with Notices to Report to ICE, but did not follow the instructions of their release and report to ICE. We have discussed my concerns about this catch-and-release policy multiple times in HSGAC hearings, and you have previously testified that DHS considers individuals who do not report to be “an enforcement priority of ours.”

Lankford is calling on Mayorkas to demonstrate to the committee by December 1, 2021, that DHS is operating under the original response provided to Lankford under oath during the September 21, 2021, hearing.

The full text of the letter can be found HERE.

Excerpt from question in Answer from September Homeland Security Hearing:

Lankford:  … One of the questions I’m going to have is, are we in pursuit of any of those individuals that did get a notice to report but then have not actually reported? Are those in the priorities? And have we actually picked up any of those folks for detention?

Mayorkas:  Senator, my understanding is of that figure; approximately 75 percent have indeed reported within the timeframe or within their reporting timeframe. And as to those who have failed to report, that would qualify as an enforcement priority of ours.

Lankford: Well, the best guess that we have at this point is about 28,963 as of last night are beyond their reporting timeframe. That’s around 29,000 people so far that have not reported that we’re given the notice to report. I just want to know where are they, and are we actually pursuing those individuals?

Mayorkas: Those — we — those individuals we do consider to be a — a priority for enforcement, Senator.