With House Republicans set to start impeachment proceedings against him, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas reiterated his stance that the blame for the rapidly deteriorating situation at the U.S.–Mexico border lies with Congress, not with his leadership.
“We will continue to do everything we can, and we will continue to enforce the law. But we need Congress to make the legislative changes and provide the funding that our frontline officers so desperately need,” Mr. Mayorkas told reporters at a Jan. 8 press conference in Eagle Pass, Texas.
Describing U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel as “heroes,” the secretary commended agents for coping with yet another record-breaking month of encounters with illegal border-crossers in December—a situation he blamed on a lack of immigration enforcement in Mexico and the United States’ existing immigration laws.
“We now need Congress to do their part and act. Our immigration system is outdated and broken and has been in need of reform for literally decades. On this, everyone agrees. It is the very reason why President [Joe] Biden submitted to Congress on his very first day in office proposed legislation,” he said.
“Now, three years later, I am privileged to be working with both Republicans and Democratic senators who are working tirelessly on much-needed reform and long overdue fixes to our broken system. We need Congress to provide the supplemental funding that President Biden requested months ago.”
The referenced supplemental funding request included $20 billion for border security but tied those funds to additional funding for Ukraine in its war against Russia. Republicans ultimately shot down the measure, holding that the president’s priority should be securing the borders of the United States, not those of other countries.
“At the end of the day, Republicans aren’t budging until we secure the border,” Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) told News Nation on Dec. 12. “That’s the question that all America is asking Joe Biden right now: ‘Why do Republicans have to beg Joe Biden to secure the border?’ That’s part of his job.”
The senator added that Republicans wanted to see a commitment to “meaningful” border security reforms from the administration.
Impeachment ProceedingsMr. Mayorkas’s border trip comes ahead of the House Homeland Security Committee’s first impeachment hearing against the secretary since the House referred articles of impeachment to the panel in November.
The full committee hearing, set for Jan. 10, is expected to focus on how the secretary’s leadership has adversely affected the Heartland states of Montana, Oklahoma, and Missouri.
Mr. Green said his committee had conducted a “comprehensive investigation” into the causes, costs, and consequences of the border crisis and concluded that the secretary was largely to blame.
“Our investigation made clear that this crisis finds its foundation in Secretary Mayorkas’s decision-making and refusal to enforce the laws passed by Congress, and that his failure to fulfill his oath of office demands accountability,” the congressman said.
The resolution also holds him in violation of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 and the Immigration and Nationality Act for failing to maintain operational control of the border and for releasing inadmissible illegal immigrants into the United States.
At his own Eagle Pass press conference on Jan. 4, Mr. Green said those violations made Mr. Mayorkas “the greatest domestic threat to the national security and the safety of the American people.”
“He has broken his oath to defend this country. Even [Attorney General Merrick] Garland admitted that the policies of Mayorkas are being used by cartels to exploit the American people and make billions of dollars, putting Americans at risk,” he said.
“If the AG knows the policies are the cause, Secretary Mayorkas knows the policies are the cause,” he added. “He’s doubling down. He’s doing this intentionally, despite the catastrophic harm to our country.”
The first impeachment hearing is set for 10 a.m. on Jan. 10.