House Republicans on Monday subpoenaed Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, seeking information about a program that allows citizens of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela to enter the U.S. on a temporary basis.
The House Homeland Security Committee in April sought a suite of documents on the “CHNV parole program” including all communications about its establishment and a breakdown of data related to applicants.
Modeled after the Uniting for Ukraine program that allowed those fleeing the war torn country to temporarily reside in the U.S., the Biden administration has been allowing up to 30,000 citizens from the four countries to enter each month.
In seeking information about the program, the committee in April cast it as an effort “that assists large swathes of illegal aliens into the interior of the United States. DHS has repeatedly reached far beyond its Congressionally authorized statutory authority to choose the groups it prefers to grant entry into the United States.”
The Biden administration announced in October of last year it would no longer allow Venezuelans to seek asylum at the border, subjecting them to the now-defunct Title 42 removal process.
That decision was made alongside another to allow Venezuelans to apply for parole if they could secure a financial sponsor in the U.S. — something out of reach for many. The program was later expanded in January to include the three other countries, targeting the nationalities most frequently apprehended at the border.
On Monday, committee Chairman Mark Green (R-Tenn.) said the requests “remain unsatisfied and are now 102 days delinquent.”
The request comes as Green and the committee have begun work on a report that could serve as the basis for a possible impeachment of Mayorkas, pledging to turn it over to the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over such matters.
DHS said Monday they have turned over the bulk of what the committee asked for.
“DHS has provided substantial materials in response to the Homeland Security Committee’s request. The Department also communicated to the Committee that we will provide additional data as it becomes available. Instead of working with us, they have unnecessarily escalated to a subpoena,” DHS said in a statement.
“DHS will continue cooperating with Congressional oversight requests, all while faithfully working to protect our nation from terrorism and targeted violence, secure our borders, respond to natural disasters, defend against cyberattacks, and more.”
The subpoena also spurred a response from the panel’s top Democrat, who backed the department and said the majority broke committee rules by failing to inform them.
“It is absurd that extreme MAGA Republicans running our Committee have subpoenaed the Department while the Department has been working with them to get them what they need and has been producing and transmitting requested data. Not only is the Republican request outside the Committee’s legislative jurisdiction, the majority broke the Committee’s rules – which they, themselves, wrote – by not informing us accordingly,” ranking member Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement.
“This subpoena is just another misstep in their baseless and politicized effort to impeach Secretary Mayorkas.”
To DHS, the program has been a success, initially leading to a significant drop in those attempting to cross the border.
The program is still underway following the lifting of Title 42, while those from any country who attempt to cross the border between ports of entry will face expedited removal and could face a years-long bar from reentering the U.S.
Updated at 6:10 p.m.