Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday took aim at what he called “baseless” and “false” allegations leveled against him by House Republicans ahead of a key vote on impeachment articles in the House Homeland Security Committee.
“I assure you that your false accusations do not rattle me and do not divert me from the law enforcement and broader public service mission to which I have devoted most of my career and to which I remain devoted,” Mayorkas said in a lengthy letter to House Homeland Security Committee Chair Mark Green.
The committee is meeting to advance two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas, accusing him of refusing to follow immigration law and of breaching public trust. A vote is expected later in the day, likely along party lines, moving the articles to a House vote at a future date.
Mayorkas’ letter comes after Republicans have traded barbs with Democrats and the administration over the impeachment push against the Biden cabinet secretary, who Republicans have accused of a “dereliction of duty” in his handling of the ongoing and historic crisis at the southern border. Migrant numbers officially hit 302,000 in December, a new record, after 2.4 million encounters in FY23. Republicans have said that large releases into the interior and a rolling back of Trump-era policies have fueled the crisis.
MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE PREDICTS MAYORKAS IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES WILL PASS HOUSE WITHOUT ANY DEM SUPPORT
Representative Mark Green, a Republican from Tennessee and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024. (Photographer: Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Green’s majority began investigating Mayorkas’ handling of the border crisis last year and this month have held hearings on the impeachment articles that were sent by the House last year. Those articles accuse Mayorkas of having “repeatedly violated laws enacted by Congress regarding immigration and border security” and of having “made false statements to Congress” that the border is secure, and closed and that DHS is in operational control of the border.
“These articles lay out a clear, compelling, and irrefutable case for Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ impeachment,” Green said this week. “He has willfully and systemically refused to comply with immigration laws enacted by Congress. He has breached the public trust by knowingly making false statements to Congress and the American people, and obstructing congressional oversight of his department. These facts are beyond dispute, and the results of his lawless behavior have been disastrous for our country.”
Green accused Mayorkas of having “completely disregarded the separation of powers, a bedrock of our constitutional republic.”
“Congress has a duty to see that the executive branch implements and enforces the laws we have passed. Yet Secretary Mayorkas has repeatedly refused to do so. His lawless behavior was exactly what the Framers gave us the impeachment power to remedy. It is time we take this affront to a coequal branch of government, to the Constitution, and to the American people seriously,” he said in a statement this week.
The administration and House Democrats have instead blamed the crisis on a “broken” system in need of reform and funding from Congress, which they accuse Republicans of having failed to provide, amid a Hemisphere-wide crisis.
In his letter, Mayorkas declared that “problems with our broken and outdated immigration system are not new”
“Our immigration laws last received an overhaul in 1996. Our immigration laws were simply not built for 21st century migration patterns,” Mayorkas said.
He pointed to stats including half a million removals since May, and daily removals nearly double what they were compared to from 2014-2019. He also says that the apprehension rate has been 78%, the same as the prior administration, and there have been a significant increase in removal flights within the Western Hemisphere.
He also points to increased Border Patrol hiring, an anti-smuggling campaign, and an intensified anti-fentanyl effort that has seen more seizures of the deadly drug which kills tens of thousands of Americans each year.
“Instead you claim that we have failed to enforce our immigration laws. That is false,” he said.
He also pushed back on the criticism his department has faced over an alleged lack of responsiveness to oversight queries from Congress, claiming instead that he has been responsive to Congress with testimony, witnesses and documents.
“The allegations are baseless and inaccurate,” he says.
MIGRANT CRISIS BROKE NEW RECORD IN DECEMBER WITH 302K ENCOUNTERS, OFFICIALS CONFIRM
Immigrants wait to be processed at a U.S. Border Patrol transit center after they crossed the border from Mexico on December 20, 2023 in Eagle Pass, Texas. A late-year surge of migrants crossing the U.S.southern border has overwhelmed U.S. immigration officials. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) (John Moore/Getty Images)
House Democrats have also backed Mayorkas on the matter. On Monday, they released a lengthy report accusing the Republican majority of abusing the impeachment process and running a “sham” process, while sabotaging Mayorkas’ efforts to handle the border crisis.
“What is glaringly missing from these articles is any real charge or even a shred of evidence of high crimes or misdemeanors – the Constitutional standard for impeachment. That should come as no surprise because Republicans’ so-called ‘investigation’ of Secretary Mayorkas has been a remarkably fact-free affair. They are abusing Congress’ impeachment power to appease their MAGA members, score political points, and deflect Americans’ attention from their do-nothing Congress,” Ranking Member Bennie Thompson said in a statement.
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“Republicans don’t actually want to work towards bipartisan solutions to fix the border – in fact, they have repeatedly sabotaged the Secretary’s efforts to secure the border and denied DHS’ funding requests. Secretary Mayorkas is upholding the law and honoring the public trust as he has throughout his more than 30 years of service to our Nation. The House must reject this sham resolution.”
Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Elizabeth Elkind and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.