Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday announced he is filing a new article of impeachment against Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Flanked by more than a dozen fellow Republican lawmakers outside the Capitol, Biggs accused Mayorkas of having intentionally induced or exacerbated the crisis at the southern border.
“This is done intentionally. This is not negligence, it is not by accident, it is not incompetence,” Biggs said Wednesday afternoon. The Arizona congressman continued by outlining the various Biden administration efforts to slow down or end former President Donald Trump’s border policies, as well as efforts to introduce policies that effectively enable an influx of illegal aliens.
“Secretary Mayorkas is the chief architect of the migration and drug invasion at our southern border. His policies have incentivized more than 5 million illegal aliens to show up at our southern border—an all-time figure,” Biggs said in a prepared statement.
“Instead of enforcing the laws on the books and deporting or detaining these illegal aliens, the vast majority of them are released into the interior and never heard from again.
“Thousands of pounds of drugs—including deadly fentanyl—continue to pour across the border unabated. Fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18-45. These drugs could be stopped by a border fence and personnel, but Secretary Mayorkas has halted all wall construction and pulled agents from the front lines.
“It’s clear Secretary Mayorkas has committed high crimes and misdemeanors. His conduct is willful and intentional. He is not enforcing the law and is violating his oath of office. For these reasons, Secretary Mayorkas should be impeached.”
Since 2021, Mayorkas has faced calls to be impeached by conservatives in Congress amid the ever-worsening influx of illegal immigrants and contraband, especially fentanyl, into the United States from the U.S.-Mexico border. Fiscal year 2022 saw more than 2.3 million encounters of illegal aliens, and a record-high figure of more than a quarter of a million encounters across the southern border in December 2022.
A DHS spokesperson said lawmakers should focus on updating the U.S. immigration system instead of seeking to cast blame on officials.
“Secretary Mayorkas is proud to advance the noble mission of this Department, support its extraordinary workforce, and serve the American people,” a DHS spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement. “The Department will continue our work to enforce our laws and secure our border, while building a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system.
“Instead of trying to point fingers and score political points, the Members of Congress recklessly and baselessly pursuing impeachment should work on legislative solutions for our broken system, which has not been updated in over 40 years.”
An impeachment is akin to an indictment, which, if further advanced, would result in a trial in the Senate.
Following the November 2022 election, House Republicans now have a slim majority in the chamber, which means the impeachment articles could find enough support to pass the House if virtually every GOP lawmaker votes in unison.
But an impeachment trial is unlikely because Democrats control the Senate. Furthermore, to convict an official, a two-thirds majority vote is required.
Pressure from Republicans, however, serves to increase public scrutiny on the Biden administration’s immigration and border policies.
The latest article of impeachment from Biggs seeks to hold Mayorkas accountable “for high crimes and misdemeanors.”
It charges Mayorkas with having failed to faithfully uphold the oath to defend and secure the United States and uphold the Constitution. Mayorkas has instead “presided over a reckless abandonment of border security and immigration enforcement, at the expense of the Constitution and the security of the United States,” the text of the resolution (pdf) reads.
It adds that Mayorkas “has violated, and continues to violate, this oath by failing to maintain operational control of the border and releasing hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens into the interior of the United States.”
Mayorkas has also allegedly violated the Secure Fence Act of 2006 in failing to maintain operational control of the border, and his actions “have directly led to an increase in illegal aliens and illegal narcotics, including deadly fentanyl, entering the United States,” according to the resolution.
It accuses Mayorkas of having willfully violated the Immigration and Nationality Act “by releasing illegal aliens into the interior of the United States,” even though the law requires the homeland secretary to detain illegal aliens while they are placed in removal proceedings. It adds: “The Secretary of Homeland Security does not have the option of simply releasing those aliens into the interior of the United States.”
The resolution noted various actions by the DHS under Mayorkas, including how it terminated contracts for building more of the border wall, which resulted in key parts of the southern border not being secured. Separately, Mayorkas also terminated the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as “Remain in Mexico,” a program under Trump that kept illegal aliens in Mexico until their asylum claims are heard.
It also said Mayorkas reimplemented the catch and release program “and has even released inadmissible aliens into the interior of the United States without issuing the aliens a Notice To Appear for immigration proceedings,” adding that this has been “intentionally done to keep illegal aliens off of the immigration court docket and prolong their time in the United States unlawfully.”
The resolution alleges that Maryorkas has “usurped the parole process” by using humanitarian parole to “bypass immigration law and ‘legally’ admit aliens who intended to cross the border illegally.” According to the article, Mayorkas has “abused categorical parole, allowing unprecedented numbers of unvetted aliens (particularly Afghans, Ukrainians, and Venezuelans) to enter the United States, effectively disregarding Congressional enforcement measures and encouraging further illegal immigration.”
GOP Push for Impeachment, Investigations
The new article of impeachment on Wednesday marks a renewed impeachment effort. Biggs in August 2021 had introduced articles of impeachment against the DHS chief. In doing so, he became the first member of Congress to push for Mayorkas’s impeachment. At the time, the impeachment resolution had 32 Republican co-sponsors. But the two articles failed to reach the House floor for a vote.
According to a press release from Biggs’s office, the resolution he announced Wednesday is co-sponsored by at least 28 other GOP lawmakers.
It makes him the second lawmaker in 2023 to formally propose impeachment proceedings against Mayorkas; Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) on Jan. 9 had introduced two articles of impeachment, also for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” accusing Mayorkas of having encouraged illegal immigration. The two articles have since been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Biggs, who is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told reporters on Wednesday that he and Fallon are co-sponsoring each others’ impeachment resolutions.
The House Oversight Committee on Jan. 19 began a probe into the administration’s handling of the border crisis, with Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) having asked for a few chief patrol agents to testify at an upcoming hearing on Feb. 7. Comer announced Tuesday that Mayorkas had sought to prevent two chief agents from testifying but later reversed his stance after Comer threatened to use subpoenas.
“If you continue to direct DHS to obstruct congressional oversight in this matter, I will be forced to consider the use of the compulsory process,” Comer told Mayorkas in a letter on Jan. 27.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had in November 2022 called on Mayorkas to resign, saying Republicans would otherwise move to impeach him.