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 Mayorkas did stand and express condolences to the Tambunga family present – though he 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.” 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 and Emilia Tambunga’s car.  BORDER PATROL CHIEF SAYS DHS DOESN’T HAVE OPERATIONAL CONTROL OF US BORDER 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 “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 said. “I respectfully do in that regard,” the secretary replied. 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.  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.
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