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While it’s normal for new administrations to sack positions like U.S. Attorney and name their own appointees, certain things are not normal, including the move that the head of the Department of Homeland Security just made.
Alejandro Mayorkas just fired almost all the members of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC), a bipartisan panel that has existed and provided expertise and advice for years to the secretary’s office. They had more than 30 unpaid members who sat on the council, made up of leaders appointed by both Democrat and Republican DHS secretaries of old. Now, only three are left, after Mayorkas’ hatchet job.
Now, this would seem the worst possible time to ax such a support, when they are in a middle of a border crisis, with the Biden team making all kinds of mistakes and bad policy moves.
But it’s a typical Biden move, and it’s part of why they’re in such trouble at the border. They were so anxious to do away with the protections instituted by President Donald Trump that they created a crisis.
Now, they’re so anxious to ax the folks who were put on the Council by Trump, like former DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and former Deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, they’ve gotten rid of virtually everyone else, too, in the process. Just like with their decision about the border, that’s going to end up badly. Unfortunately, it’s going to hurt the country.
Why is he getting rid of almost everyone, including people appointed by Democrats? Because the Council was non-political and actually knew their stuff. They would see what is going on and wouldn’t be able to be buffaloed. They were likely telling Mayorkas that Biden was making moves that were harmful to the country. Can’t have that.
Yes, a DHS Secretary can obviously pick the advisory council to advise his department. But it’s cutting off your nose to spite your face, because they know they’re in the wrong and don’t want to be told so by the independent folks. It also makes me think they intend to do more things in the future that are questionable, and they don’t want people with informed eyes looking in on it.
Mayorkas kept Chairman William Bratton, Vice Chair Karen Tandy, and Chair Emeritus William Webster, but said he would be replacing the rest with a “diverse membership” representative of the country, and conducting a “comprehensive review” as to how it could best be used to advise the DHS.
From Fox News:
“I am considering how the HSAC can bring the greatest value to the Department and how the expertise, judgment, and counsel of its members can be harnessed most effectively to advance the Department’s mission,” he said. “I expect to work closely with the HSAC and to rely on its Members to help guide the Department through a period of change.”
Chad Wolf blasted the move, “While I respect the right for a DHS Secretary to alter the HSAC to address their needs, dismissing the entire council outright and stopping a lot of important work (that was underway) is not the right approach.”
The ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee in the House, John Katko (R-NY), also called out Mayorkas’ actions, saying it showed that the Biden folks had “no intention of upholding a bipartisan, unifying approach to securing our homeland.”
“It’s an absolute shame that Secretary Mayorkas has removed these well-respected homeland security leaders who have dedicated their careers to strengthening our homeland security posture,” he said in a statement.
According to Fox News, he added: “”I would urge the Secretary to take a thoughtful approach as he reconstitutes the HSAC and be mindful of the message he intends to send.”