During a highly publicized Mexican border visit to address the record-breaking migrant crisis, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas secretly met with influential open border groups including nonprofits funded by leftwing billionaire George Soros and another operated by a former Hillary Clinton and Obama advisor, according to records obtained by Judicial Watch. The Biden administration deployed Mayorkas on the mission in mid-August of last year as part of an ill-fated effort to reassure the nation that the immigration chaos was under control as startling Border Patrol figures revealed that agents shattered a 21-year-old record in July with 212,672 apprehensions, a 13% increase over June.
Mayorkas, shamefully ousted as a Bill Clinton U.S. Attorney after orchestrating the pardon of a big-time drug dealer, put on his game face, met with Border Patrol officials in south Texas, placated and schmoozed local leaders and publicly suggested that the border is under control. In a press conference delivered in Brownsville, Texas the DHS secretary confidently promoted the administration’s plan to deal with the crisis, including spending tens of millions of dollars to address the root causes of migration in Central America, an increase in law enforcement operations with our Mexican partners and a vague strengthening of enforcement with additional personnel. Mayorkas also explained that “worsening conditions…including poverty, a rise in violence, and corruption” were responsible for the rise in migrant encounters. He described the situation as a tough and complicated challenge that involves vulnerable people.
Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with DHS for the records involving the DHS secretary’s August 2021 tour to uncover more information about the excursion, especially the private meetings with previously undisclosed attendees. Most of the records provided by the agency include background to prepare Mayorkas for events and details of the various meetings with local elected and law enforcement officials. The files include biographies and photos of many of the officials, including the mayors of Brownsville, McAllen, Laredo, Del Rio, Pharr, and Mission. The itinerary also contains the bios of local judges in several Texas border counties who had expressed concern to the administration about the migrant crisis. The records include a July 30, 2021 letter from Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez to President Biden warning that the ongoing immigrant surge demands immediate and decisive action. In the short letter to the commander-in-chief the judge refers to the situation as “an extremely pressing issue.”
The most notable record obtained by Judicial Watch includes a backgrounder for a private session Mayorkas held with open border nonprofits working with immigrants along the southwest border, some of them on the government’s payroll. Judicial Watch has reported leftist groups’ key role in the border crisis, specifically that the Biden administration is allowing them to select the illegal immigrants that enter the U.S. to request asylum. Among the 14 attendees at the Mayorkas meeting was Juanita Valdez-Cox, Executive Director of La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), an affiliate of the influential National Council of La Raza (NCLR), which changed its name to a less divisive UnidosUS. LUPE’s website lists Soros’s Open Society Institute as a partner organization. Also present was Olivia Peña, an attorney and co-director with the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, which received $80,000 from the Soros Fund Charitable Foundation in 2020. The group also got $5.5 million this year from the Department of the Interior for “Child Advocate Services” and $6.7 million from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last year for the care of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC).
Laura Peña, Legal Director at the Texas Civil Rights Project, also attended the covert powwow with the nation’s Homeland Security Secretary. Peña was previously the Director of Latino Outreach for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, Deputy Political Director of HillPAC/Friends of Hillary, and a senior State Department advisor and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Chief Counsel during the Obama administration. Also present at the Mayorkas meeting was Jennifer Harbury, a co-founder of the group Angry Tias & Abuelas. Harbury is a longtime liberal activist lawyer who was married to Guatemalan Marxist guerrilla Efrain Bamaca Velasquez, also known as Comandante Everardo, in 1991. Angry Tias & Abuelas operates under the fiscal sponsorship of the leftwing activist nonprofit Progress Texas Institute.