Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) peppered Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas with repeated questions Tuesday about children the lawmaker said were being held in “Biden cages” at the US border with Mexico.
“How many children have been in the Biden cages in calendar year 2021?” the Texas Republican asked Mayorkas during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
“Senator, I respectfully disagree with your use of the term ‘cages,’” Mayorkas responded.
“Fine, you can disagree with it,” Cruz rejoined. “How many children have been in the Biden cages? I’ve been to the Biden cages, I’ve seen the Biden cages. How many children have you detained at the Donna [Texas] tent facility in the cages you built to hold kids? How many children have been in those cages?”
“I, respectfully, am not familiar with the term ‘cages’ and to what you are referring,” Mayorkas said.
“Enclosures in which they are locked in, in which I took photographs and put them out because you blocked the press and didn’t want people to see the Biden cages,” said Cruz.
“I will have to circle back with you with a precise number,” Mayorkas eventually admitted.
At that point, Cruz displayed a photograph taken at Donna in the spring of this year that showed children crammed into the pens.
“Oh, by the way, here’s a photograph of the Biden cages,” he proclaimed. “Children sleeping on floors, crashed in upon each other. When I took this photograph, the rate of COVID positivity was over 10 percent.”
“May I speak, senator?” Mayorkas said.
“You can answer the question. How many kids have been in these positions?” Cruz shot back.
“That is precisely why I stated in March of this year that a Border Patrol station is no place for a child,” Mayorkas said.
“Secretary Mayorkas, you’re not answering my question, so let me ask you this,” Cruz said. “In the past year, has Joe Biden been down to see firsthand the Biden cages? Has Joe Biden been down to see this facility, yes or no?”
After Mayorkas acknowledged that Biden had not visited, Cruz pressed: “Has [Vice President] Kamala Harris been down to see the Biden cages, this facility? Yes or no?”
“The vice president was at the border –” the DHS head began.
“Has she been down to see this facility?” Cruz asked again. “I know she went to El Paso. Has she seen the Biden cages?”
“They are not cages,” Mayorkas insisted, to which Cruz turned to the photo and asked: “What are these walls?”
After Mayorkas eventually acknowledged that Harris had not visited Donna, Cruz asked: “Has any Democratic senator on this committee been down to see the Biden cages?”
“I will once again disagree with your use of terminology –” Mayorkas started before Cruz interrupted.
“These facilities, has any Democratic member of this committee given a damn enough to see the children being locked up by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris because of your failed immigration policies?” the senator asked.
“Democrats have been down to the Donna facility,” Mayorkas answered. “Whether they are members of this committee, I do not know.”
Cruz then launched into a series of rapid-fire questions.
“How many women have been sexually assaulted or been trafficked into this country in 2021?” he asked.
An apparently stunned Mayorkas responded: “Senator, I have no ability to determine how many women have been sexually assaulted in Mexico along the migratory path.”
“All right, how about this?” Cruz asked. “How many children have been sexually assaulted by traffickers or other people when they were coming in illegally?”
“I do not have that data,” admitted Mayorkas, who gave similar answers to questions from Cruz about the number of illegal immigrants who were released while positive for COVID-19 or were released with criminal convictions on their record.
“How many murderers have you released?” Cruz asked. “How many rapists have you released? How many child molesters have you released?”
To each question, Mayorkas said he was “not aware” of any such releases.