The Biden administration official who oversees the border must quit or be impeached, a series of Republican congressmen said during a heated congressional hearing on Thursday.
Fireworks erupted one day after Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told Congress that DHS had “effectively managed” America’s southern border with Mexico. In fact, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has reported 2.5 million unlawful border encounters during the Biden presidency, including 1.7 million illegal crossings in 2021. Thursday’s proceedings breathed added life into efforts to remove Mayorkas from his role overseeing U.S. immigration policy.
“My constituents want you impeached because they think you’ve committed treason,” Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) told Mayorkas on Thursday. “They think you’re a traitor. They compare you to Benedict Arnold.”
Similarly, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who introduced a bill to impeach Mayorkas last August, confronted the secretary over Biden policies that he said incentivize illegal immigration to the United States. “You’re not preventing entries; you’re fomenting entries. You’re encouraging it,” he said — a common refrain during the hearing.
The number of illegal border crossings has increased every month of 2022, including another 221,000 in March.
Biggs told Mayorkas that if he supports the Biden administration’s lax border enforcement, “then you should be impeached. If you disagree with the Biden administration’s program, you should resign. That’s where we are.”
Thursday’s comments amplified those made by the top-rated House Republican, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), on Monday. McCarthy said it is time for Mayorkas “to do his job” by rejecting the repeal of Title 42, scheduled for next month.
“But,” he warned Mayorkas, “at any time if someone is derelict in their job, there is always the option of impeaching somebody.” Mayorkas remains unlikely to face impeachment in a Democrat-controlled Congress, but the odds may change if Republicans regain the congressional majority after this November’s midterm elections.
Pointed exchanges punctuated the hearing, which lasted hours into the afternoon. Several congressmen on Thursday said not only the present border situation, but also the Biden administration’s determination to grant expedited asylum to would-be refugees, poses a national security threat. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) invoked Ramzi Yousef, the 1993 World Trade Center bomber, who came into the United States on an erroneous claim of political asylum.
“Are you waiting for a mushroom cloud?” Bishop asked Mayorkas.
“I won’t dignify that last question with a response,” replied Mayorkas.
Some congressmen made a more comprehensive rejection of the Biden-Mayorkas border regimen. “Are you doing anything right when it comes to the border?” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) asked Mayorkas.
“I’ve done a tremendous number of things correct,” the secretary responded.
Uncontrolled borders do not merely bring new migrants: Fentanyl, largely trafficked by Mexican cartels, has eclipsed automobile accidents and suicides as the number-one killer of Americans aged 18 to 45.
Most Democrats proved content to change the subject, discussing everything from Mayorkas’ equity plan for members of the LGBTQIA+ community to the secretary’s family tree, which contains both Ashkenzi and Sephardic Jewish lineage. Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA) told the secretary that she is “worried about the threat of white supremacy” and “violent right-wing extremism.” Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) accused Republicans of engaging in “sickening, breathtakingly xenophobic” treatment of Mayorkas.
But a few Democrats questioned the Biden administration’s immigration priorities as well. Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ) mentioned opioids and the actions of Mexican cartels in his remarks. And at a separate hearing on Wednesday, Michigan Democrat Elissa Slotkin blamed her own party for the lack of progress on border security.
“Right now, Democrats have the House, the Senate, and the White House and have done nothing to get at comprehensive immigration reform,” said Rep. Slotkin. “If we are dealing with security issues on the very border of our country, we have failed.”
“Our policy is failing.”