Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley said that he would object to the expedited consideration of Alejandro Mayorkas, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security.
Hawley’s announcement came hours after Mayorkas’ confirmation hearing Tuesday morning and will delay the confirmation of a post that Democrats have argued is absolutely imperative to fill as soon as possible given the heightened risks to national security.
“Mr. Mayorkas has not adequately explained how he will enforce federal law and secure the southern border given President-elect Biden’s promise to roll back major enforcement and security measures,” Hawley said in a statement.
“Just today, he declined to say he would enforce the laws Congress has already passed to secure the border wall system. Given this, I cannot consent to skip the standard vetting process and fast-track this nomination when so many questions remain unanswered.”
His latest move could temporarily stall Mayorkas’ confirmation since defeating the hold would require 60 votes, meaning that 10 Republicans would have to join Democrats after they officially take control of the chamber Wednesday.
During the hearing Tuesday, Hawley pressed Mayorkas over how he would allocate $1.4 billion in congressionally appropriated funds towards President Donald Trump’s border wall. While Mayorkas said that he would “follow the law,” he declined to say whether the funds would ultimately go towards the wall’s further construction.
The two also discussed Biden’s proposed pathway to citizenship for the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants living in the country.
While Hawley said that the plan was “especially” concerning given the increased hardship millions of Americans are facing, Mayorkas said that he would be “privileged to work with Congress to pass immigration reform legislation that provides that path, and provides a permanent solution to what is clearly a broken system.”