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House GOP releases border report critical of Homeland Security chief

At least four Republicans have filed articles of impeachment against Mayorkas

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark E. Green, R-Tenn., leaves the Capitol building in March.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark E. Green, R-Tenn., leaves the Capitol building in March. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans released a report Wednesday blaming Biden administration officials for high migration levels at the U.S.-Mexico border, as part of their efforts to build an impeachment case against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The 55-page report, compiled by Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee, represents the latest step from the conference in a bid to remove Mayorkas from office. There are already at least four articles of impeachment filed against him in the House.

Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green told reporters Wednesday that the report represents the first phase in a “five-phase deep dive” into the causes of the high migration levels.

The report concludes that Biden administration officials “have proven directly responsible for the historic border crisis still ongoing today.” And Mayorkas, the report states, “bears particular responsibility for the devastating crisis that has unfolded and expanded on his watch and due to his policies.”

Green said the committee will turn its findings over to the Judiciary Committee, which would be responsible for formally launching impeachment proceedings. He estimated the investigation would take 11 to 12 weeks.

Following the release of the report, the Homeland Security committee held a hearing it described as a step to “kick off” an investigation of Mayorkas’ “dereliction of duty.”

In his opening remarks, Green accused Mayorkas of risking U.S. national security by “releasing unvetted individuals from our nation’s most dangerous adversaries into our local communities.”

Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, the top Democrat on the Homeland Security committee, called the hearing “a new low” and a “sham.”

“It’s obvious this hearing isn’t really about border security. It’s not even really about Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas or the Department of Homeland Security. It’s about partisan politics,” Thompson said. “It’s about House Republican leadership catering to its most extreme MAGA members, who want to impeach someone, anyone at all.”

Thompson also asserted his Republican colleagues are “trying to make good on GOP backroom deals to elect a speaker, raise the debt ceiling, and stave off a mutiny in the Republican ranks.”

House Republicans have ramped up calls in recent months to impeach Mayorkas. Four House Republicans — Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, Texas Rep. Pat Fallon, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Louisiana Rep. Clay Higgins — have already filed articles of impeachment against him.

And leadership has signaled some support. Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in November, before taking the gavel, that House Republicans would investigate Mayorkas and whether to begin impeachment proceedings. Republican Whip Tom Emmer also called for Mayorkas to be impeached last month in an interview with Breitbart News.

Such proceedings would be historic; a Cabinet secretary has been impeached only once in American history. William Belknap, who served as war secretary during the administration of President Ulysses Grant, was impeached in 1876 for bribery-related offenses.

It’s also unclear that Republicans have the votes necessary to impeach. Asked about support in the conference for impeachment, Green told reporters that “we haven’t even gotten to that word.”

Still, the Department of Homeland Security is preparing, including by bringing on outside counsel earlier this year.

A DHS spokesperson said Wednesday that Mayorkas “is proud to advance the noble mission of the Department, support its extraordinary workforce, and serve the American people.”

The department has also released data showing a drop in the number of migrants crossing the southwest border in the past month, after a pandemic-era policy allowing migrants to be expelled expired.

“Instead of pointing fingers and pursuing baseless attacks, Congress should work with the Department and pass comprehensive legislation to fix our broken immigration system, which has not been updated in decades,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

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