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Top U.S. homeland official faces lawmakers after border chief resigns


U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during the opening of the U.S.-Mexico High-Level Security Dialogue at the State Department in Washington, U.S., October 13, 2022. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy/File Photo

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will testify before lawmakers on Tuesday, three days after the country’s top border official, Chris Magnus, resigned under what he said was pressure from Mayorkas.

Republicans at Tuesday’s hearing are likely to question Mayorkas about the resignation and about the 2.2 million migrant arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022, which ended on Sept. 30, as well as Magnus’ resignation.

Magnus, who held the role of U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner since December 2021, resigned in a letter on Saturday to President Joe Biden. A day earlier, Magnus said he had been pressured by Mayorkas to step down or be fired.

It was the most significant staffing shakeup in Biden’s Democratic administration to follow last week’s U.S. midterm election vote and signals that record border crossings remain a concern under Biden, a Democrat.

FBI Director Christopher Wray and National Counterterrorism Center Director Christine Abizaid will also testify in the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee hearing, which focuses on security threats.

The federal law enforcement agencies issued an Oct. 28 bulletin to state and local officials warning that political candidates, election officials and the public faced a heighten risk of violence around the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

On the day the bulletin was released, Paul Pelosi, husband of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was attacked in the couple’s San Francisco home. The election proceeded with no major acts of violence or unrest.

In April, Representative Clay Higgins, a Republican from Louisiana and a committee member, said Mayorkas would be impeached if Republicans controlled the House of Representatives and called on him to resign.

Democrats secured control of the Senate in the midterm contest while the House of Representatives hinges on several tight races that could hand Republicans a majority. read more

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