Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) became the first GOP senator to suggest that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas resign in the midst of a surge of illegal border-crossers.
“It is clear to me the Biden Administration has lost control of the border. Under its current leadership, it doesn’t have either the will or capability to fix the problem,” Graham said in a statement Thursday. “It is time for DHS Secretary Mayorkas to change course or change jobs.”
“The situation is bad and only going to get worse,” he added. “Unless there is immediate and drastic change, the worst is yet to come—by far.”
On Wednesday, Mayorkas testified in front of Congress about the surge and defended the White House’s response to the situation while refusing to call it a crisis as Republicans and some Democratic lawmakers have asserted.
The Biden administration has also been criticized for using mixed-messaging. President Joe Biden told ABC News on Tuesday that the border isn’t open, telling potential border crossers, “Don’t leave on your own.”
“We’re in the process of getting set up, don’t leave your town or city or community,” he said.
Earlier in the weekend, the DHS chief issued a statement saying the United States is now “on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years,” describing the situation as “difficult.”
“But we will not waver in our commitment to succeed. That is our job,” Mayorkas also said in his opening statement to lawmakers this week. “We will also not waver in our values and our principles as a nation. In the Department of Homeland Security, we can and we will tackle the many challenges we face while complying with our legal obligations and honoring our nation’s values and principles.”
Republicans have accused the White House of essentially giving the green light to illegal border-crossers to enter the United States after rescinding a number of President Donald Trump’s immigration rules—including the “Remain in Mexico” policy and construction of the border wall—during Biden’s first days in office in January. Meanwhile, some have said that Biden’s plan to create a pathway for more than 11 million illegal immigrants created an incentive for the surge.
But Democrats have countered those assertions with claims that it was Trump’s immigration policies that caused the crisis.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency said there were more than 100,000 apprehensions in February—a 28-percent increase from January’s figures.
The Epoch Times contacted the DHS for comment.