FederalImmigration & BorderCongressional Republicans Demand Mayorkas Release Report on Venezuelan Convicts Crossing the Border

After a leaked intelligence report warned of Venezuelan convicted criminals crossing the southern border, a group of Republican lawmakers is demanding answers.
September 23, 2022
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In response to news of a leaked Department of Homeland Security (DHS) intelligence report, a group of congressional Republicans is demanding answers from DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about the threat of violent Venezuelan criminals entering the country illegally via the southern border.

Earlier this week, Breitbart News published information from a DHS report instructing border patrol agents to watch for individuals allegedly released from Venezuelan prisons by President Nicolas Maduro.

Breitbart reporter Randy Clark, a retired division chief for the United States Border Patrol, told The Texan he has seen screenshots of the entire intelligence report. Clark says it includes interviews with multiple human informants who assert there are Venezuelan individuals convicted of murder, rape, and extortion among migrant groups illegally crossing the border. 

On Thursday, Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX-22) announced that he along with Reps Lance Gooden (R-TX-05), Chip Roy (R-TX-21), Louie Gohmert (R-TX-01), and nine other Republicans are demanding answers from Mayorkas about the leaked report.

“This bombshell report confirms what we’ve known for years,” said Nehls in a statement.

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Nehls also referred to intel indicating that some Venezuelan convicts had already been spotted within migrant caravans traveling from Tapachula, Mexico as recently as July of this year, “meaning they could already be in our interior.”

The Republicans’ letter demands that DHS release the full intelligence report to Congress and queries Mayorkas about the number of Venezuelan nationals who have already entered the country. They also ask how many are suspected to have criminal convictions, and what DHS is doing to prevent entry. 

Although border patrol agents attempt to check the criminal histories of apprehended illegal immigrants, Clark says the U.S. has not had access to many foreign criminal databases, especially those of Venezuela. 

Nehls, formerly the Fort Bend County sheriff, also asks whether Mayorkas has contacted the Maduro regime or opposition leader Juan Guaido regarding the allegations, and whether the release of Venezuelan convicts could be a purposeful geopolitical move that involves the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service, the Venezuelan equivalent of the U.S, Central Intelligence Agency. 

Along with the four Texas reps, the letter to Mayorkas is signed by Reps. Tom Tiffany (R-WI-07), Jim Banks (R-IN-03), Lauren Boebert (R-CO-03), Pete Stauber (R-MN-08), Jody Hice (R-GA-10), Glenn Grothman (R-WI-06), Byron Donalds (R-FL-19), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL-26), and Don Bacon (R-NE-02).

Gimenez, a Cuban-born American, invoked the Mariel Boatlift incident in which Cuban dictator Fidel Castro sent an estimated 20,000 convicted criminals along with other immigrants to the U.S. in 1980. 

“Today, we continue to confront the growing threats posed to the United States by malign actors seeking to encroach on our national security. It would surprise no one if the Maduro regime has taken a direct page from Fidel Castro’s playbook to wreak havoc and undermine American security interests,” said Gimenez in a statement. “If confirmed, it would be a repeat of the Mariel Boatlift where prisoners guilty of heinous crimes are making their way into our country with the intent to cause harm.” 

“The Biden Administration’s disastrous border policies contribute to unvetted criminals coming in, young children being trafficked by smugglers, billions in monthly profits to the cartels, and the influx of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances pouring into our country. We have an important duty to acknowledge the crisis happening on our borders and seek transparency and accountability from administration officials,” added Gimenez. 

Earlier this week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published an operational update indicating there had been nearly 2.2. million encounters with illegal aliens along the southwest border during the last 12 months, with CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus noting there had been an increase in illegal immigrants from “failing communist regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba.”

“Our adversaries despise what America stands for and take pride in emptying their prisons filled with the most violent and sick individuals to walk the earth and send them to our southern border, where they know they’ll have no trouble getting in,” said Nehls. “Our overworked border patrol agents can only do so much when President Biden gives everyone a no strings attached invitation into this country.”

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Holly Hansen

Holly Hansen is a regional reporter for The Texan living in Harris County. Her former column, “All In Perspective” ran in The Georgetown Advocate, Jarrell Star Ledger, and The Hill Country News, and she has contributed to a variety of Texas digital media outlets. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a degree in History, and in addition to writing about politics and policy, also writes about faith and culture.