Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) says tens of thousands of children illegally trafficked across the U.S.–Mexico border are being forced into labor on American soil.

The senator accused Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas of allowing migrant minors to enter the country illegally and claimed that he has been pressuring agencies to bypass the vetting process for these children for political reasons.

Hawley made the accusations during an April 18 hearing before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security.

The senator cited a report by The New York Times, which asserted that Mayorkas has allegedly eased vetting restrictions in order to expedite the process.

“You have at every stage facilitated this modern-day indentured servitude of minor children,” Hawley said. “Why should you not be impeached for this?”

“Senator, I look forward to discussing this issue further because you are misstating the facts so terribly,” the DHS secretary began before Hawley cut in.

“I am reading you the facts from articles in the news, and your usual modus operandi, which you are doing again today … is to deny, deny, deny.

“Why have you permitted 345,000 children to come into this country unaccompanied?” Hawley asked. “Why have you permitted thousands of them to be abused and exploited?”

According to Mayorkas, it is “stunning” that Hawley had previously acknowledged the efforts of former President Donald Trump’s administration in reuniting migrant families that were separated due to his current comments.

Hawley responded by accusing Mayorkas of shifting the blame onto the previous administration for the ongoing challenges faced by migrant children in the United States.

“A moment ago, you were crowing about how you treat children so well, and yet we find tens of thousands of children who are forced to work as slaves because of your policies and you turn around and blame a prior administration,” Hawley said.

“Mr. Secretary, this is par for the course for you. You do it every time you appear before this committee; you do it every time you appear before Congress.

“I, for one, am sick and tired of it, and thousands of children are in physical danger—danger—because of what you are doing.

“You should’ve resigned long ago. And if you cannot change course, you should be removed from office.”

During his opening comments, Mayorkas said his department was proposing that an additional $4.7 billion be added to their budget as part of an “emergency designated funding for a Southwest Border Contingency Fund to provide additional resources to DHS in the event of increased migration.”

Mayorkas listed several possible uses for the funds, including soft-sided facilities, transportation of migrants, medical support, surge staffing, immigration detention beds, Alternatives to Detention, and the Shelter and Services Grant Program.

He explained, “When the specified encounter rates have been met, the department will notify this committee of its intent to use the resources made available through this fund.”

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