Who is responsible for the illegal immigration crisis at America’s southern border?

That’s a question currently being investigated by the House Homeland Security Committee, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is atop the list.

“I think very clearly, Secretary Mayorkas has chosen to totally disregard the laws passed by Congress,” says Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., chairman of the committee.

Asked whether Congress will take steps to impeach Mayorkas, Green told The Daily Signal, he would “continue to hold the cards to my chest.”

In June, Green announced a five-part investigation into the “Biden-Mayorkas border crisis.” The investigation is a response to the estimated more than 6 million illegal aliens who have been encountered on the southern border since the start of the Biden administration in January 2021.

The first three phases of the investigation of the border crisis have included Mayorkas’ alleged dereliction of duty; how the border crisis facilitates the illegal activities of drug cartels; and examining the human cost of the border crisis.

Green joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to preview the fourth stage of the investigation, which begins with a Wednesday hearing and will examine the financial cost of the border crisis. The Tennessee lawmaker also responds to questions regarding the possible impeachment of Mayorkas.

Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript:

Virginia Allen: It is my privilege today to be joined by Congressman Mark Green of Tennessee. Congressman Green is a veteran, a physician, and serves as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Congressman, thanks so much for being with us today.

Rep. Mark Green: Yeah, thanks for having me.

Allen: The House Homeland Security Committee is entering its fourth stage of its investigation into the Biden-Mayorkas border crisis, and this fourth stage is the financial cost of the crisis. What do you expect to learn in this fourth stage of the investigation?

Green: I think our goal for this stage is to try to put a packaged price tag on the open border. Obviously, there are some costs that are, well, obvious. If you give social services to migrants who come into the United States, that’s a taxpayer cost.

Something that might not be well-known or not obvious would be, for example, the cost of uncompensated health care in hospitals. And those costs get passed on to commercial insurance because in the ER, cost shifting occurs, not only from the nonpaying persons but also from the government payers because the government price is below the market price.

So whenever an individual is either getting government assistance or not at all, and they show up and have to be seen due to internal laws, that cost gets passed on. So what is the cost of another several million people in the United States that obviously need to go to the emergency department?

And a lot of the folks that are coming across are of childbearing age. So we look at Yuma, Arizona, for example, where the obstetrics ward is consumed by migrants. And the patients, the people of that community, have to drive 200 miles to have their children. What is the cost of a hotel there? What is the cost of the drive? These unseen costs?

In my state, we have a significant fentanyl baby population that when they’re born to a fentanyl-addicted mother require intervention of the state, and the calculations are as high as a million-plus dollars over the course of the lifetime care of that child.

These are just hidden costs and it goes on to jail costs, to automotive insurance increases because of the hit and run kind of experiences that we’re seeing across the country that have actually killed Americans. The cost of addiction, I mean just the drug addiction rehabilitation is predicted to be as high as $1.5 trillion on the United States economy.

So we want to put a total price tag and that’s what we’re going to try to do. It’s going to be a daunting task, but we’re going to try to do that.

Allen: If you were to compare the cost of securing the border with fencing, technology, additional Border Patrol agents to the financial cost of having an open border, what do you think that comparison would look like?

Green: Well, I think the return on investment would be, it doesn’t cost us a trillion and a half dollars to build a wall and put the sensors in. So very clearly there’d be a massive cost savings. What those exact numbers are, we really kind of have to see what the next few days of this phase reveals to us. But yeah, I mean, it would be a huge cost savings to actually secure the border.

Allen: Now, during every phase of this investigation, the House Homeland Security Committee has been holding hearings and inviting witnesses to testify before members of Congress and really unpack their experience of how the border crisis has affected them in a myriad of ways. So today, the House Homeland Security is holding one of those hearings and is diving into looking at this financial cost of the border crisis. Who are the witnesses who are testifying today?

Green: So, we have some folks coming from the border area and we have some folks coming from New York City. So it’s pretty exciting to get the two perspectives, a community that’s closer to the border and the cost impact. And then the commissioner from New York is going to be fantastic and just share with us how, because [New York City Mayor] Eric Adams has been very much in the press about the cost to the New Yorkers.

And one of the points I’ve tried to make, at least in my media appearances recently, is New York City is a city of 12 million people or so. They’ve had about 10,000 a month come into the city. El Paso, Texas, though, is a city of 200,000 and it’s had about 30,000 a month. So we want to look at the financial costs on each of these communities, but we want to show America just how devastated the border communities are as well.

Allen: Well, last week you concluded the third phase of the investigation into this border crisis. Phase three was investigating the human cost of the border crisis, and two of the phases before that were [Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro] Mayorkas’ dereliction of duty and then how the border crisis facilitates the illegal activity of the drug cartels.

What has come to the surface during these first three phases? What has Congress learned that maybe you didn’t know before you launched this investigation?

Green: I think very clearly, Secretary Mayorkas has chosen to totally disregard the laws passed by Congress. He has lied to Congress. He has ignored court orders that basically said, “Stop what you’re doing, whether it’s using the CBP One app to grant some kind of lawful pathway.” And I think just digging into the law itself and seeing how he’s just disregarded it.

And when you think of it on the sort of 100,000-foot view, it’s really a violation of his oath. We all take an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States, and very clearly in the Constitution of the United States is this founding first principle of separation of power. And we make the laws and the executive branch enforces those laws and the judicial branch interprets those laws. So he’s disregarded the judicial branch and he’s totally disregarded the United States Congress. And that, to me, is a violation of his oath of office.

And I think, as was relayed last week—and this was probably the most startling testimony we’ve had or some of the most startling testimony we’ve had—he very well could be aiding and abetting the cartels in their human trafficking and in their drug trafficking because he’s very clearly failed to address the failures.

It’s been made known to him, despite his own admission that he didn’t know the strategies of the drug cartels, he didn’t understand their tactics and use of colored armbands to make sure they were getting paid. He admitted in Congress in testimony they didn’t know those things yet, but he was clearly told after and walked away knowing that there are more human-trafficked people because of his actions. And there are more drugs in the United States killing Americans because of his actions or inactions.

So the failure to repair that can be interpreted as his intent. They must want this to happen. And I’ll share something else that I think the president said that also speaks to intent and what the real intent is.

When New York and Massachusetts and some of the blue states started screaming about the migrants, he talked about creating some system where they remain in Texas, but it’s a contradiction to what they were saying before.

They were saying before that we need the employment in the United States. Well, if you need the employment in the United States, then you need the migrants everywhere. But if it’s, “keep them in Texas,” then maybe this really is about turning Texas or the country blue. And so I think that reveals an intent.

And so some of those things have been really somewhat, I mean, we kind of guessed that that was it, but have it be so clear that Mayorkas is willing to facilitate drug trafficking and human trafficking to potentially reshape the electorate is just shocking.

Allen: Well, Congressman, I think so many Americans have been watching the situation at the border. They’ve been paying attention to these factors just like what you just laid out. And they’re asking the question, is Secretary Mayorkas going to be impeached?

And I know that that’s a question you’ve been asked before, and you made clear that you wanted to carry out all five phases of this investigation to really dive deep into the facts to find out what we know, and that at the end of that a decision would be made.

Where do you things stand on that? Is Congress going to move forward with an impeachment of Mayorkas?

Green: I still want to sort of reserve my final decision, but I will say that the aiding and abetting charge that was made in our last hearing certainly speaks toward very clear justification for an impeachment. And we’re going to just continue to investigate, but that is very concerning. So we’re going to look very closely at that.

And of course, we’ve got this last phase, which is going to take a little bit more time, and that’s looking at waste, fraud, and abuse. There may very well be some criminal activity in that as well.

So we’ve got a lot of work to do here. And so my final decision on that and recommendation, I’ll continue to hold the cards to my chest, but I will say that it’s very concerning that there’s a potential there for aiding and abetting.

Allen: Now, Congressman, many of your Democrat colleagues, they look at the title of so many of these hearings that often include “the Biden-Mayorkas border crisis” in the title of the hearing. And they are saying that all of this investigation is just driven by politics, that it’s all politically motivated. What is your response to that?

Green: Well, look, I represent 760,000 people in Tennessee, and Republicans now have the majority. So we represent the majority of the people in the country. And in fact, in that election that brought us into the majority, the majority of Americans voted Republican. So it’s pretty clear to me that the majority of the people in the country want us looking at this because when I’m in my district, this is the No. 1 issue.

The safety of Americans is probably—there are a lot of things in my oath to the Constitution, but the government that is created by that Constitution is there to provide security to the people. And I actually signed up to be the chairman of Homeland Security because I think it’s the greatest, the open border is the greatest threat to our nation’s security and safety.

We’re talking about 40,000 Chinese nationals that have come into the country this year. It’s an astronomical increase over previous. The drug nexus that we pointed out in phase two, it is not a waste of time, as has been said by the Left in the hearing, that we investigate this.

And I did perceive last week a very interesting—I said it in my closing remarks—movement of the needle. They did not defend America’s policies. And in fact, I think it was three or four of the members of the minority party actually said, “Yes, there’s a border crisis,” and that’s a big shift.

But they did just sit there and attack [former President Donald] Trump’s separation of 5,000 children, which I thought was rather ironic considering there are 85,000 sponsors that won’t even answer the phone. And so those kids, not 85,000 sponsors, because we know that in some cases 100 kids went to one sponsor. Just insane in and of itself. But yeah, I mean, there’s a shift on their side in the committee, which I think is stark.

Allen: Well, Congressman, we really appreciate your time today. We’re going to be watching this hearing, this fourth part of the investigation very closely as you look at the financial cost of the border crisis. But thank you, sir, so much for your time today.

Green: Yeah, thanks for having me on.

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