15.2 C
New York
Saturday, May 18, 2024

Mayorkas comes face to face with family of grandmother, 7-year-old girl killed by human smuggler near border

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas apologized Wednesday to the family of two victims who died in a traffic accident caused by a human smuggler fleeing arrest at the border.

Mayorkas — testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee — was asked to apologize to the family of Maria Tambunga and Emilia Tambunga, who were killed last month.

“They’re sitting right behind you. They came here today because they want answers. They came here today because of the failures of you and your leadership. They came here because they want closure,” said Republican Rep. August Pfluger of Texas.

SEN. MARSHALL INTRODUCES RESOLUTION FOR VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN MAYORKAS AMID SENATE GRILLING

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before House Homeland Security Committee on Capitol Hill

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before a House Homeland Security Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. (Reuters/Sarah Silbiger)

Mayorkas did stand and express condolences to the Tambunga family present — although he also accused Pfluger of politicizing the tragedy.

Speaking directly to the family without a microphone, Mayorkas could be heard at one point telling the group, “My heart breaks for your loss.”

The Texas Department of Public Safety said Rassian Comer, 22, of Louisiana, ran a red light during a high-speed chase on eastbound I-10 in Ozona and crashed into Maria Tambunga’s car. 

BORDER PATROL CHIEF SAYS DHS DOESN’T HAVE OPERATIONAL CONTROL OF US BORDER

Texas Grandma and Granddaughter

Emilia Brooke Tambunga and her grandmother, Maria Socorro Alvarez-Tambunga. (Preddy Funeral Home)

Two of the 11 illegal migrants being smuggled in Comer’s 2021 Dodge pickup truck were also killed in the crash, Texas DPS said. Both were from Mexico. 

“Mr. Mayorkas, are you going to tell the Tambunga family that the border is secure today?” Pfluger asked.

“Congressman, you are politicizing a tragedy,” Mayorkas responded.

Mayorkas has become a lightning rod for Republican criticism over the border crisis, and scrutiny has increased ahead of the looming end of Title 42 expulsions at the beginning of May. 

BIDEN ADMIN SEES PROGRESS IN TACKLING BORDER CRISIS AS MARCH’S NUMBERS DOWN FROM LAST YEAR

Family of 2 killed in crash with human smuggler attend House Homeland Security hearing with Mayorkas

Family members of 71-year-old Maria Tambunga and Emilia Tambunga, who were killed in a car crash involving a human smuggler, attend a House Homeland Security Committee hearing where Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified on Wednesday. (House Homeland Security Committee)

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stood and looked at the family of a grandmother and girl who were killed in a car crash near the southern border

Mayorkas on Wednesday stood during a House hearing and looked at the family of a grandmother and 7-year-old girl killed in a crash with a human smuggler. He then accused Republican Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, of politicizing the tragedy. (House Homeland Security Committee)

“Mr. Mayorkas, do you disagree with the head Border Patrol agent when he said that our border is not secure?” Pfluger pressed.

“Congressman, I have testified to that issue,” Mayorkas began.

“So you do disagree with him. You disagree with your chief of Border Patrol?” the congressman asked again.

“I respectfully do in that regard,” the secretary replied.

Mayorkas testifying senate

Mayorkas has become a lightning rod for Republican criticism over the border crisis. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

While the administration has been touting relatively lower numbers in recent months — which it ties to border measures introduced in January that included increased expulsions of a humanitarian parole program for four nationalities — officials fear a massive increase in apprehensions once Title 42 drops.

The Biden administration has dismissed the push by Republicans in the House to impeach Mayorkas, saying that Congress should instead focus on fixing what it says is a broken immigration system. 

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

A spokesperson on Tuesday renewed those calls in response to a resolution by Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., to trigger a vote of no confidence in Mayorkas.

Fox News’ Bradford Betz and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

Related Articles

Stay Connected

1,520FansLike
4,561FollowersFollow
0FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Latest Articles