Mayorkas refuses to apologize to parents of children killed by fentanyl in testy hearing

Alejandro Mayorkas
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, April 28, 2022, in Washington. Evan Vucci/AP

Mayorkas refuses to apologize to parents of children killed by fentanyl in testy hearing

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A senior Republican senator blasted the Biden administration’s top border official, Alejandro Mayorkas, in a public hearing for his refusal to apologize to the parents of child victims of drug overdoses for his role in the United States’s failed response to the fentanyl epidemic.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) tore into the Department of Homeland Security secretary Tuesday after he shared two stories of minors in his state who died after unknowingly consuming fentanyl, but Mayorkas refused to accept blame and pointed to how others had died from fentanyl prior to President Joe Biden’s administration in 2021.

Cornyn listed a 17-year-old boy in Kyle, Texas, whose parents found him dead in his bed, as well as a 15-year-old boy who died from taking a fake prescription pill laced with fentanyl.

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“Mr. Secretary, would you like to take the opportunity here today to apologize to these parents who lost their children to fentanyl poisoning because of the policies of your department and the Biden administration? Would you like to apologize to them?” Cornyn asked after he shared both stories.

“Senator, my heart is with the family of every victim of a drug overdose death,” Mayorkas said.

Cornyn asked Mayorkas if his comment was an apology, but Mayorkas did not answer and restated that his heart was with the families and loved ones of victims of drug overdose deaths.

The senior Texas senator pushed Mayorkas, the former deputy secretary of DHS during the Obama administration, to “do something” about drug overdoses in the U.S. Cornyn then cited a statement from Attorney General Merrick Garland, who said drug cartels in Mexico intentionally used immigrants to overwhelm Border Patrol agents at the southern border and pushed narcotics into the country in parts of the border that had been left unguarded.

“You’re clearly losing that battle, and you won’t even apologize to these parents, like so many other parents who have lost their children, their teenage children, to counterfeit drugs laced with fentanyl,” Cornyn said.

Mayorkas reassured the committee that the DHS was “bringing unprecedented force to the fight against fentanyl.”

Cornyn repeatedly told Mayorkas he was “losing,” to which Mayorkas vowed to work with the committee to “address this challenge.” Cornyn was not satisfied with the response.

“My constituents are saying, ‘Who’s accountable? Who’s paying a price? Who got fired?'” Cornyn rebutted and noted again that Mayorkas had declined to apologize to the victims’ families. “Well, you haven’t been fired. You should be fired, but you haven’t been fired because you were carrying out the policies of the Biden administration, and we’ve seen nothing but death and destruction as a result.”

Mayorkas expressed sympathy for the victims’ families, adding the department was taking “unprecedented” action against drug traffickers and that the fentanyl problem existed prior to Biden taking office.

“The scourge of fentanyl is not new. It is not something that was born in 2021. And I can provide you with tens of thousands of deaths that preceded this administration. This is a challenge that we all have to come together to fight,” Mayorkas said.

“You’ve simply lost all credibility, Mr. Secretary,” Cornyn finished.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) questioned Mayorkas directly after Cornyn and said fentanyl was as much a Democratic problem as a Republican one.

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“This problem has risen under Republican presidents and Democrat presidents,” Booker said. “This is not a partisan issue. This is an American issue. This is an American crisis.”

The hearing is one of three appearances that Mayorkas will make on Capitol Hill in Washington this week and may foreshadow the intense frustration that lawmakers from both parties have for the burgeoning fentanyl epidemic and the DHS’s attempt to curtail the border crisis. A number of Republicans have called on Mayorkas either to resign or be impeached.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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