Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan sent a subpoena to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday, requesting that he give over the case files of more than a dozen immigrants under investigation by Congress.
Among them are rape and murder suspects, including one illegal immigrant suspected of two rapes on a Silver Spring, Maryland, jogging route, and others accused of murdering a teenager in Frederick County, Maryland.
Many of the 14 files contain illegal immigrants who were apprehended and released at the border, which is at the core of the immigration influx.
Jordan, an Ohio Republican, said his committee has regularly pressed the agency for the information over the last seven months but has been greeted with resistance. Only two incomplete summaries have been sent to Congress.
According to the chairman, he was obliged to use the subpoena.
“Your response without compulsory process has, to date, been woefully inadequate,” he wrote in a letter to Mayorkas announcing the subpoena.
Mayorkas was given until January 8 to submit the files.
The subpoena is the latest in a tug-of-war between Congress and the Biden administration, notably Homeland Security, for information access.
Jordan said his committee is investigating the link between weak immigration enforcement and violent crime, and examining the data might help legislators understand how migrants who commit major crimes landed themselves in the United States in the first place.
Jordan is looking for A-Files, or Alien Files, which detail a person’s immigration history, including any border interactions, subsequent spats in the interior, prior deportations, and immigration court processes.
Requests for A-Files, according to Homeland Security, take time since the records might be thousands of pages long. As a result, the department provides summaries instead.
As a sign of its readiness to collaborate with legislators on information, the department said it had worked hard to brief Congress and offer formal witnesses for hearings. This includes responding to almost 1,400 congressional letters since the Biden administration began in 2021.
“DHS has worked hard to accommodate the committee’s request, including providing briefings and responsive materials. The department also communicated to the committee that we will provide additional files as they become available. Instead of working with us, they have escalated to a subpoena, yet again,” said Naree Ketudat, a DHS spokeswoman.