Ex-DHS chief Chad Wolf: Mexican cartels have become a bigger threat than White supremacists


Former acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf laid out a case to The Washington Times for impeaching his successor, saying Alejandro Mayorkas violated his duty to carry out the laws Congress wrote by exempting whole categories of illegal immigrants from the threat of enforcement action.

Asked to grade Mr. Mayorkas, who took over for Mr. Wolf in the change from the Trump to the Biden administration, he didn’t hesitate.

“Oh, it’s an F,” Mr. Wolf said on the latest edition of The Times’ “Politically Unstable” podcast. “I don’t know how you look at any of the metrics out there and say it’s a passing grade.”

He said it’s up to Congress to make decisions on impeachment, but he added that lawmakers who want to go that route “have a very strong case.”

“Your job is to enforce the laws as Congress has written,” Mr. Wolf said. “There’s a number of things Congress has told you to do, and if you say, ‘I’m not going to do that because I have limited resources and I’m just going to exempt whole [categories of] people from that,’ I would say that’s a good case of you’re ignoring the law.”

He added: “They actually said this: ‘If you come across the border illegally, that alone is not a basis for removal.’ You basically just said breaking a federal law means you’re not going to be removed, even though it says you should be removed.”

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The Homeland Security Department didn’t respond to an inquiry from The Times for this article.

Mr. Wolf ascended to acting secretary at Homeland Security in November 2019 and served until the end of the Trump administration. Democrats said he was installed in the post illegally. After a brief stint by another interim secretary at the start of the Biden administration, Mr. Mayorkas took over on Feb. 2, 2021.

Mr. Wolf told The Times that he had one conversation with Mr. Mayorkas during the transition but the newcomers seemed more interested in dismantling anything with the Trump label on it.

The result is an unprecedented surge of illegal immigration, deadly fentanyl across the southern border and even terrorism suspects crossing into the U.S.

The winner in all of that, Mr. Wolf said, is the cartels that control the smuggling of people and drugs across the boundary.

“They have more money, more territory, and more power than they have ever had in the history of cartels,” Mr. Wolf said.

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That’s one reason he disputes Mr. Mayorkas’ insistence that White nationalism is the more prominent threat to the homeland.

“It’s not the No. 1 threat facing the homeland, which is how this administration talks about it. It’s just not,” Mr. Wolf said. “There’s foreign terrorist organizations, China, there’s a variety of — I would even say the cartels, at this point, of what’s going on, are endangering more Americans on a day-to-day basis than White nationalists ever did.”

He said the money made from smuggling people is pumped into fentanyl production, which has its own massive death toll.

Drug overdose deaths broke a record in 2021, with 107,622 recorded fatalities. Of those, 71,238 showed use of fentanyl or similar synthetic opioids.

Experts fear this year will be even worse, given the availability of drugs.

In July alone, Customs and Border Protection seized enough fentanyl to kill every American, shattering the previous monthly record by 60%. Authorities say if more is seized, then more is getting through the border and reaching American communities.

By comparison, the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks deaths attributed to domestic extremists, recorded 29 fatalities in 2021 and said 26 of those were committed by far-right extremists.

Mr. Wolf said White supremacist attacks shouldn’t be downplayed.

“But when you have 100,000 or so overdose deaths, the vast majority of that — I’d say 90% of that — is coming across the southern border, why wouldn’t you say that’s what we need to focus our resources on?”

Asked to guess the Biden administration’s thinking behind its policy changes, Mr. Wolf said he thinks politics is part of it.

“At some endpoint, someone in the White House thinks it’s going to be advantageous to them politically at the end of the day, and I think they’re wrong on that,” he said. “I think it’s all these folks that we’re allowing in, allowing them to stay here, that somehow they’re going to support us in future elections.”

An NPR/Ipsos poll released this month found that a majority of Americans surveyed believe the U.S. is “experiencing an invasion” along its southern border.

There’s a movement among some former Trump officials to push border-state governors to declare an invasion, flexing powers the Constitution grants to states to “engage in war” when they have been invaded.

Mr. Wolf said he agrees with the idea in principle, but he added that “really practical issues” would need to be worked out, such as liability protection for state law enforcement or the National Guard, and logistics of how migrants could be transferred back across the border.

“I think it is an invasion; now there’s a lot of tricky questions to answer,” Mr. Wolf said.

Listen to the full episode here: 

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