House Committee Demands Answers from DHS Over Controversial Hire
At a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday, tensions rose as Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas faced questions about his department's employment of an immigration officer, Nejwa Ali, who has expressed extremist views on social media.
The questioning was prompted by an article published by The Daily Wire, which revealed that Nejwa Ali, a former spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and strong supporter of Hamas, was hired by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2019 as an asylum and immigration officer.
Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) asked Mayorkas if foreigners who come to the U.S. to attend college and then publicly declare support for the destruction of Israel should have their visas revoked. Mayorkas would not answer the question, prompting Hawley to ask about Ali, who Mayorkas has more immediate discretion over as her employer.
WATCH: @HawleyMO BLASTS DHS Secretary Mayorkas for refusing to fire a DHS employee celebrating Hamas and the genocide of the Jewish people:
“Why has this person not been fired.” pic.twitter.com/NpiIOlaTcW
— Conservative War Machine (@WarMachineRR) October 31, 2023
Hawley presented Mayorkas with copies of some of Ali's posts on social media, including ones where she expressed support for the Hamas terrorist group and called for the downfall of Israel. He asked Mayorkas why Ali has not been fired for her extremist views and what actions have been taken against her.
Mayorkas responded by saying that it was "despicable" to suggest that Ali's views are representative of the DHS workforce. When Hawley asked if Ali had been fired, Mayorkas evaded the question and said that she had been placed on administrative leave. Hawley pressed further, asking why she had not been fired and questioning whether she had improperly granted asylum to individuals or denied asylum to Jewish people.
Mayorkas said that he could not discuss an ongoing personnel matter, but continued to deflect and attack Hawley for his line of questioning. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), the committee chairman, allowed Mayorkas one minute to respond, during which Mayorkas invoked his own personal background as a child of Holocaust survivors.
“F*** Israel and any Jew who supports Israel.”
Hamas? Iran? Nope! It’s the Biden Administration.
Biden’s DHS has hired former PLO spokeswoman Nejwa Ali to work as an Adjudication Officer for the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service — the job that decides who gets let into… pic.twitter.com/bVx3ULIcGo
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) October 18, 2023
Hawley was then denied the opportunity to respond and Mayorkas accused him of being "adversarial" and not knowing his own background. Following the hearing, Ali, who is currently on paid leave, responded defiantly on social media, suggesting she is currently in Jordan.
The House Oversight Committee has since written to DHS, asking how Ali was hired given her previous work for the PLO and questioning the department's vetting process.
While Mayorkas defended the department's decision to hire Ali, the tense exchange and lack of transparency regarding her employment raises concerns about the vetting process and judgment of DHS, especially when it comes to individuals tasked with interviewing and vetting potential migrants.