Mike Gallagher votes against DHS sec impeachment after Mayorkas acts on his demands for textile import limits

Feb 7, 2024 | Political News

On Tuesday evening, the House of Republicans failed to impeach Biden’s DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Among the three Republicans who voted against the measure was Wisconsin Rep Mike Gallagher.

On January 17, Gallagher, chairman of the House Select Committee on the CCP, sent a letter to Mayorkas urging “immediate action to strengthen enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA).” 

The letter states that the UFLPA is being undermined by companies that transfer forced laborers from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) to other areas of China, “complicating DHS enforcement of the presumptive ban on forced labor products from the XUAR.”

“Thus, there is an urgent need to expand the UFLPA Entity List to include numerous companies and entities located outside the XUAR because of the affiliation to companies and entities in the region, particularly those involved in the seafood, gold, and critical minerals industries,” Gallagher wrote.

The letter demands to know, among other things, why countries outside China that have had shipments detained for UFLPA violations have not been placed on the entity list, what the DHS’ plan is to list additional companies on the list, and why the textile industry, which has been identified as a UFLPA priority enforcement sector, has seen “astonishingly low” and “declining” enforcement by CBP “relative to its volume of imports.”

Around two weeks after the letter was sent, Mayorkas met virtually with members of the National Council of Textile Organizations.

Members of the group expressed to Mayorkas “the tremendous harm and distress that the textile industry is suffering at the hands of unscrupulous individuals and entities who create an unfair market by circumventing the operation of our nation’s free trade agreements, violating the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), and exploiting the de minimis shipment exception that is established in law.”

Mayorkas, in response, announced that he is enlisting the help of the CBP, Homeland Security Investigations, and other agencies within the DHS “to increase and expedite their work in prosecuting illegal customs practices that harm the American textile industry.”

A press release from the meeting stated that CBP “has already begun to increase enforcement in this arena” including “increasing its capability and capacity for isotopic testing of imported goods suspected of forced labor violations.” In Gallagher’s letter, he pressed why “isotopic testing not being aggressively expanded.”

The press release also stated that “as chair of the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force, DHS continues to work in collaboration with other agencies and the private sector to expand the UFLPA Entity List to publicly name and hold accountable bad actors that use or facilitate forced labor.”

“DHS will use all the tools at its disposal, including identifying suspicious transshipment practices, publicly identifying bad actors, isotopic testing, random parcel inspections, and other law enforcement efforts, in order to protect the integrity of our markets, hold perpetrators accountable, and safeguard the American textile industry,” said Mayorkas.

Gallagher Letter to Mayorkas on UFLPA by Hannah Nightingale on Scribd