Skip to main content
Press Release Published: Mar 20, 2023

Comer & Burlison Question Mayorkas’ Misleading Claims on Credible Fear Screenings at the Border

Request documents and information from DHS about its catch and release policies and limited use of credible fear interviews

WASHINGTON — House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and Congressman Eric Burlison (R-Mo.) are investigating misleading statements made by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claiming that the vast majority of illegal aliens released from DHS custody passed an initial threshold credible fear screening for asylum. According to DHS’ own data, this statement is misleading and creates a false narrative for how the Biden Administration processes and releases illegal border crossers into the United States. In a letter to Secretary Mayorkas, Chairman Comer and Congressman Burlison are requesting all documents and information about DHS’ catch and release policies and its limited used of credible fear interviews. 

“This is the latest attempt by Secretary Mayorkas to spin the facts about President Biden’s border crisis. Under the Biden Administration’s watch, the Department of Homeland Security has gone back to failed catch and release policies. Only a fraction of those released in the U.S. are even screened for a credible fear. The Oversight Committee will continue to conduct much needed oversight of the Biden Administration’s policies that have created the worst border crisis in American history and hold Secretary Mayorkas and others accountable for their failure to secure the border,” said Chairman Comer.

During a February 18, 2023, interview with Chris Wallace, Secretary Mayorkas implied that the vast majority of illegal aliens who are released from DHS custody first receive and pass a credible fear screening before they are released into the country. However, DHS data contradicts his statements. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, more than 140,000 of the 172,116 Title 8 apprehensions made by U.S. Border Patrol agents in December 2022 resulted in an individual’s release into the country. Yet according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), only 5,001 aliens were referred to CBP for credible fear screenings that month. The numbers for other months similarly represent only a fraction of total releases. Because of contradictory data posted on various DHS websites, however, it is impossible to know the extent of DHS’s catch and release policies. 

“Secretary Mayorkas has created the worst border crisis in our nation’s history and his recent comments were an attempt to mislead the American people about his actions. We know that his policies have led to the release of nearly 2 million illegal aliens into the country and the American people deserve to know the full extent of the crisis he has created,” said Congressman Burlison

Read the letter to Secretary Mayorkas here.