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Nomination of Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg

Floor Speech

Date: Feb. 2, 2021
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. President, ahead of our votes today, I wanted to echo the concerns that have already been voiced by many of my colleagues in this Chamber regarding the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to be the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

At this point, we are all very familiar with his long legacy of service on behalf of people of the United States, so I will just highlight one example of the ``value'' that he will bring to the table should the Senate vote to confirm him.

When he served as USCIS Director during the Obama administration, the inspector general was forced to investigate an ``extraordinary'' number of internal allegations that Mayorkas was granting ``special access and special favors'' to wealthy EB-5 ``investor visa'' applicants linked to influential Democrats.

When the IG took a closer look at the visa applications for three powerful Chinese nationals in particular, they came to the conclusion that if Mayorkas hadn't intervened, and I am quoting, ``the matter would have been decided differently.''

Now, this is something that we know is inappropriate. We know that this is something for which Mr. Mayorkas should be held accountable. We know that this is something for which he has not been held accountable, and here is what he did: He put his thumb on the scale, pressured his DHS colleagues--pressured his DHS colleagues--to break their own rules and turn the law on its head, all because a few powerful friends asked him to do it. He pressured others for the benefit of some powerful friends, and it is all there for everyone to read in the inspector general's report, and he was never held accountable. Yet, here we are, being asked to support his nomination to the President's Cabinet.

There are plenty of policy differences between myself and Mr. Mayorkas that have convinced me I have no choice but to stand in opposition to his confirmation. But the example I just cited, in particular, gives me additional serious concerns about how his influence would affect the integrity of the Agency.

Just last week, I joined several of my colleagues in a letter to the senior Senator from Illinois, asking him to exercise his judgment as the incoming chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and allow for a second hearing so we could examine Mr. Mayorkas's record thoroughly because, while I believe that the President has every right to assemble his Cabinet, I also believe that the American people have every right to understand exactly who is being put in charge of enforcing our Nation's immigration laws and keeping our border secure, enforcing counterterrorism measures and keeping an eye on the country's cybersecurity. And the current nominee? Never held accountable for showing favor to some friends in high places. That is not the way this is supposed to be.

I would urge my colleagues to consider the American people--the taxpayers who are footing the bill for every salary that is given to every individual working with the Federal Government. What is the standard? What do they expect from their leaders?

Thereby, I oppose the nomination.

I yield my time.

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