U.S. Sen. John Cornyn

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn questions Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about the border crisis at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

(The Center Square) – U.S. Sen. John Cornyn blasted Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday for what Cornyn said has been his failure to secure the border, for the record number of over one million gotaways evading capture illegally entering the U.S., and for failing to stop fentanyl pouring through the southern border.

Cornyn, R-Texas, told Mayorkas he should be fired and took issue with his refusal to apologize to the families whose children have been poisoned by fentanyl brought in through the southern border.

Mayorkas was questioned at a U.S. Senate Judiciary hearing held on oversight of the Department of Homeland Security.

In response to one question, Mayorkas repeated the claim Democrats have been making that over 90% of fentanyl coming into the U.S. is seized at ports of entry.

Cornyn interrupted the secretary, saying, “That’s a totally made up number. You had over a million people evade Border Patrol detection and detention between 2022 and 2023. You have no idea how many of those people were carrying fentanyl or other drugs with them, do you?”

Mayorkas repeated the 90% claim from an “expert view” he said he was given, without identifying the expert or saying who gave him that information.

Cornyn again said, “That’s a totally made up number and you know it.”

He also asked, “You understand you have a credibility problem with Congress and the American people, don’t you?”

Mayorkas replied, “I have unflinching confidence in the integrity of my conduct.”

“You have told us patently two inconsistent things,” Cornyn replied. He pointed to Mayorkas’ direct quotes printed on a board alongside quotes from Democratic mayors that contradict each other.

Mayorkas has repeatedly claimed DHS has operational control of the border, which also directly contradicts testimony given by Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, who has more than once testified that DHS doesn’t have operational control.

Cornyn described the deaths of teenagers in Hays County, Texas, who were poisoned by fentanyl. He then asked Mayorkas more than once, “Would you like to take the opportunity to apologize to these parents who lost their children because of fentanyl poisoning because of your policies and the policies of the Biden administration? Would you like to apologize to them?”

Mayorkas said, “My heart is with the family of every victim of a drug overdose death.” Cornyn asked him, “Is that an apology?”

Mayorkas repeated the statement but did not apologize.

Cornyn told Mayorkas that he was repeatedly not answering questions posed to him and “won’t acknowledge responsibility” for his actions or policies.

Cornyn said, “My constituents are asking who’s accountable? Who got fired? Well you haven’t been fired. You should be fired.”

Visibly upset, Cornyn said, “we’ve seen nothing but death and destruction as a result” of Biden administration policies.

Mayorkas’ claim about fentanyl directly contradicts testimony given by Tucson Sector Border Patrol Chief John Modlin, who said half of fentanyl seizures occur in the field, not at ports of entry.

Modlin did so in response to a claim made by U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, who also claimed 90% of fentanyl was being seized at ports of entry. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a similar claim, stating "96% of the fentanyl coming to the United States is coming through legal ports of entry.”

Agents seized 52% at the port of entry and the rest in the field in Modlin’s sector alone, after “being backpacked across the border” between ports of entry, Modlin said. The amount they seized was “enough to kill everyone in Arizona 21 times or basically half the population.”

The 90% seizure claim has also been disputed by federal and state law enforcement officers in Texas who’ve seized record amounts of fentanyl statewide at no port of entry. As of March 24, Operation Lone Star officers have seized over 373 million lethal doses of fentanyl, enough to kill more than everyone in the United States. Last year, the DEA-Dallas office alone seized enough fentanyl to kill over 11 million people.