Politico: Rep. McCaul’s DHS Ambitions Blocked By Border Wall

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Texas GOP Rep. Mike McCaul will not be asked to become the next head of the Department of Homeland Security, according to Politico.

McCaul had pushed hard for the job before President Donald Trump picked John Kelly in December and he pushed hard again after Kelly switched jobs to become Trump’s chief of staff. Politico said:

The Trump administration is hitting reset on its search for a permanent Department of Homeland Security secretary due to White House aides’ dissatisfaction with the slate of candidates, according to two people familiar with the process.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul had been considered the front-runner for the job, but he no longer is in contention, these people said. White House chief of staff John Kelly, who led DHS before being tapped for his new West Wing role, privately raised red flags about McCaul’s stance on immigration, which has at times diverged from that of President Donald Trump.

One person close to the process said the Trump administration is now “back to square one” on the search, and it could be weeks before a final decision is made.

McCaul’s exclusion came after Trump’s supporters privately declared their opposition to McCaul, who has a long history of legislative inaction on border security and cheap-labor concerns.

In 2015, for example, McCaul’s 2015 State of Homeland Security Address was overwhelmingly focused on the threat of “terror,” which was mentioned 54 times, but the  text did not include any mention of the words that won the election for Trump — “wall,” “fence,” “worker,” “employee,” “job,” “wage,” or “salary.” The speech was so focused on terrorism that it did not even use the words “immigration,” “illegal,” or “alien.” In December 2016, McCaul also published an op-ed which included the phrase “In the meantime, we can’t forget about American workers” 500 words after the first sentence.

McCaul was touted for the job by President Barack Obama’s homeland secretary Jeh Johnson, who implemented had Obama’s open doors border policy. “I don’t know anybody who is stronger on border security in Congress that I have dealt with,” Jeh Johnson said about McCaul.

After Kelly switched jobs, McCaul restarted his effort to win the DHS job. For example, McCall announced this week he is pushing a bill that would authorize the administration to spend $10 billion on building the wall. But the authorization bill does not appropriate any cash, just as a check authorizes a transfer without actually ensuring the money is in the checking account.

In a September 27 statement, McCaul declared:

Next week, the Committee will mark up the Border Security for America Act, a smart multi-layered approach to strengthen our nation’s borders and ports of entry. This bill will provide the Department of Homeland Security the tools necessary to achieve full operational control and situational awareness of the border by providing for a wall, cutting edge technology, and more boots on the ground. We have been talking about border security for years.

“Now that we have a partner in the White House who has made this a top priority, it’s time to send a bill to President Trump’s desk so we can deliver the American people the security they have long demanded and deserve.”

However, a 2013 border bill drafted by McCaul was so lax that it was embraced by Democrats.  The do-nothing bill, according to a credulous article in the Washington Post:

doesn’t set an exact price or timeline or mandate a certain number of hires. Instead, it instructs the Department of Homeland Security to write a plan that could ensure the apprehension of 90 percent of illegal border-crossers in high-traffic areas within 33 months and across the entire southern border within five years. The measure directs the department to find ways to deploy existing U.S. military radar, cameras and unmanned aerial drones used recently in Afghanistan and Iraq. Congress would need to review and approve the plan before appropriating any money.

Detailed decisions about equipment, manpower and suggested costs would be left to career Homeland Security officials, who would consult with border-state governors and government experts who track security and immigration flows. The independent, nonpartisan Government Accountability Office would be required to assess the proposed strategy and report back to Congress on its implementation.

McCaul is also an advocate for cheap labor immigration.

In November 2012, McCaul called for a law to help companies import more foreign workers instead of hiring American workers. “I think we can have immigration reform,” McCaul told the Texas Tribune. “Some policies we’ve advocated with, for instance, is doing away with the lottery and increasing the cap on high-skilled worker visas.” Currently, the U.S. government offers temporary work-permits to more than 2 million foreigners each year, sharply reducing pressure on Americans companies to recruit, train and pay the four million younger Americans who enter the job market each year.

In 2014, McCaul said white-collar outsourcing is needed because “the fact is that there’s not an interest” among Americans in high-tech training.


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