What They Are Saying: House Homeland Security Committee Holds First Hearing as Part of Mayorkas Impeachment Proceedings
January 16, 2024
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last week, the House Committee on Homeland Security, led by Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN), held its first hearing in the impeachment proceedings against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The hearing evaluated the impacts of the worst border crisis in American history not just on border states, but states throughout the heartland, and how Secretary Mayorkas’ refusal to enforce the immigration laws passed by Congress is responsible for sparking and perpetuating this crisis.
Here’s what the media is saying about the hearing:
“Republicans and Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee clashed at the first hearing to examine whether DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas should be impeached over his handling of the crisis at the southern border – and as state attorneys general explained how the crisis had harmed their states.
“The committee held the first impeachment hearing at a time when the migrant crisis is setting records at the border, with over 302,000 migrant encounters in December, and a current release rate of over 85%.
“Republicans and Democrats have been deeply split over what has caused the crisis and those divisions were on display as Republicans pointed at the Biden administration, and Democrats accused Republicans of not working with them to fix the crisis.
“Republicans have blamed an expanded catch-and-release, a rollback of Trump-era policies, an ‘abuse’ of humanitarian parole to release migrants into the interior, and the ending of border wall construction as factors in what has encouraged a massive and historic migrant crisis. Green also said his committee’s investigation has uncovered 100 instances where Mayorkas has misled the public.”
“House Republicans moved forward with their effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for his handling of the situation along the U.S.-Mexico border, holding their first hearing on the matter Wednesday.
“‘Today is a solemn occasion as this committee begins official impeachment proceedings in the matter of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and his handling of America’s borders since taking office in February 2021,’ GOP Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee, the committee’s chairman said. ‘Our evidence makes it clear: Secretary Mayorkas is the architect of the devastation that we have witnessed for nearly three years.’”
“House Republicans argue that Mayorkas has failed to perform his duties and neglected to act in accordance with laws passed by Congress.”
“Republican Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond testified during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Wednesday that the Biden administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have instructed state authorities to release illegal aliens who are tied to crimes into his community.
“During the hearing, which was focused on the impeachment proceedings into DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Drummond outlined a case where federal authorities instructed state law enforcement to release an illegal immigrant involved in an illegal drug bust with an active request from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for his arrest. The DHS secretary instructedfederal immigration authorities in September 2021 to practice “prosecutorial discretion” when carrying out enforcement activities, saying that actions should be limited to “national security, public safety, and border security” threats.
“‘One recent drug bust at an illegal [marijuana] grow operation, our agents were processing those who had committed felonies that were being detained and those that were simply being trafficked in labor and sex, and one of those was identified as individual on an HSI detainer for illegal entry. He was supposed to be in Flushing, New York, he was supposed to have on an ankle monitor,’ Gentner said.
“‘When we contacted the field representative in HSI, he said ‘charge him with a felony, we’ll come pick him up’ when he, in fact, had not committed a felony. Then we were instructed to say ‘Please direct him to turn himself into the nearest HSI field office, and so we did that and let him go,’ Gentner said.
“While encounters of illegal migrants at the southern border surpassed 2 million in fiscal year 2023, ICE officers carried out 142,580 deportations.
“Mayorkas instructed federal immigration authorities that they shouldn’t take action just because an individual is “removable,” according to the September 2021 memo.
“‘That happens day in and day out across Oklahoma, where we don’t have the resources afforded to detain those that we know are illegally in the state, committing crimes or complicit in the committing of crimes,’ Gentner said.”
“House Republicans leading impeachment hearings for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas were met Wednesday with skepticism and fierce backlash from Democrats and legal experts, who claim there is no legal basis for impeaching him.”
“Rare impeachment hearings for a Cabinet-level official, which the House Homeland Security Committee launched Wednesday, are justified, Republicans said, because of record-high border crossing numbers and fentanyl coming across the southwest border. They noted that under Mayorkas, an appointee of President Joe Biden, 85% of migrants crossing are released into the U.S. rather than detained, compared to 10% during the Obama administration.
“Tennessee Republican Mark Green, current chair of the Homeland Security Committee, said that Mayorkas’ ‘refusal to change course on the reckless decisions facilitating this crisis have left us with no reasonable alternative than to pursue the possibility of impeachment.’”
“Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., said at the first impeachment hearing for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday that there isn’t an ‘reasonable alternative’ to pursuing impeachment, given the secretary’s handling of the border crisis.
“Green said there has been 6.7 million encounters with migrants at the southwest border alone under the Biden Administration.
“In addition to these catastrophic numbers are the record 1.8 million known gotaways who have entered the country on Secretary Mayorkas’ watch—individuals that Border Patrol agents know slip across our border, but are not apprehended in large part because cartels overwhelm the agents with large groups of coyote paid and escorted migrants,” Green said.
“Green said Biden’s policies such as ‘catch and release’ are being “exploited” by the cartels, yet Mayorkas has not changed course.”
“Three Republican state attorneys general demanded Wednesday that the House impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, calling him the “architect” of “destruction” caused by the mass migration crisis along the southern border.
“Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, Oklahoma AG Gentner Drummond and Missouri’s Andrew Bailey told members of the House Homeland Security Committee that Mayorkas had failed to enforce the nation’s immigration laws and misled Congress by insisting the White House has ‘operational control’ of the US border.
“Each witness said that as a consequence, their states had been forced to bear the cost of millions of illegal aliens coming into their jurisdictions thanks to what one referred to as “bogus” asylum claims.
“The AGs also lamented spiking rates of human and drug trafficking.
“‘We don’t deserve to have our communities flooded with illegal drugs that were smuggled across an unsecure border. And we don’t deserve to have our loved ones ripped away by those same drugs,’ Drummond said.”
“House Republicans accused Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday of intentionally facilitating the crisis at the southern border during the first official impeachment hearing for the Biden administration official.
“During the proceeding, Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee pointed to the record numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border under President Joe Biden and the lax policies being maintained by the administration. Under Mayorkas, Customs and Border Protection have had 8.1 million encounters with illegal immigrants, including 6.7 million at the southern border.
“‘Secretary Mayorkas is the architect of the devastation we have witnessed for nearly three years,’ House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green (R-TN) said in his opening statement. ‘The Secretary’s actions have brought us here today, not ours. Since early 2021, we have watched in disbelief as historic numbers of inadmissible aliens have poured across our borders, both at official ports of entry and illegally across the thousands of miles of our borders.’
“In addition to the record number of encounters, including an all-time monthly high of 302,000 in December, there have been at least 1.8 million people who have entered the United States without being apprehended.
“Many of those who are apprehended have been released and given court dates years in the future. Mayorkas said on Monday that about 85% of those encountered at the border have been released into the United States. Green criticized Mayorkas over the mass releases, saying that he had allowed at least 1.5 million inadmissible aliens to enter the country.”
“The man leading impeachment proceedings laid out the Republicans’ case against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday, saying he has earned ouster because of his lies to Congress and the public, plummeting morale among his employees and increasing deaths at the border.
“Rep. Mark Green, Tennessee Republican and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Mr. Mayorkas broke a relatively secure border through incompetence and ‘intentional’ disregard of laws that call for the detention and deportation of illegal immigrants.
“Mr. Green batted aside complaints that the secretary’s actions don’t rise to the ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ language of the Constitution’s impeachment clause. He said refusing to follow the law is ‘sufficient grounds for impeachment.’”
“‘After nearly three years of watching this unfold, what other conclusion is there than this is an intentional crisis?’ Mr. Green said. ‘What we’re seeing here is a willful violation of his oath of office.’”
“Chairman Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., said during his opening statement that the committee’s yearlong investigation into Mayorkas’ border immigration policies found he has failed to uphold his duty, citing historically high border crossings.
“‘Secretary Mayorkas has brazenly refused to enforce the laws passed by Congress and has enacted policies that knowingly make our country less safe,’ Green said. ‘What we’re seeing here is a willful violation of the oath of office taken by Secretary Mayorkas. Let me repeat that, a willful violation.’”