Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of homeland security, was urged to stand down by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who warned that if he does not, GOP legislators may explore impeaching him next year.
“If Secretary Mayorkas does not resign, House Republicans will investigate, every order, every action and every failure will determine whether we can begin impeachment inquiry,” McCarthy said at a press conference in El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday.
McCarthy gave his resignation as justification for his assurances to Congress that the border is under control, record numbers of people crossing the border, and his decision to stop the “Remain in Mexico” asylum programme, which was implemented during the Trump administration.
“Our country may never recover from Secretary Mayorkas’s dereliction of duty,” McCarthy said.
The minority leader’s remarks on impeachment are his most forceful ones to date, but they stop short of a commitment to put up articles against Mayorkas.
During a vote held behind closed doors last week, McCarthy’s nomination by House Republicans to be Speaker of the next Congress was approved.
Hardline conservatives urged him to be more assertive on issues including the impeachment of members of the Biden administration and President Biden himself, but he still faces opposition from them.
The minority leader’s lack of commitment to removing Mayorkas from office led Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), the former head of the House Freedom Caucus, to launch a last-minute protest against McCarthy for speaker. Earlier, Biggs filed articles of impeachment against the government officer. In the House Republican Conference meeting’s secret ballot, he garnered 31 votes while McCarthy received 188.
McCarthy must have the support of the majority of those who will be voting for a Speaker candidate on the House floor on January 3.
McCarthy has little room for error on that vote, though, given that Republicans secured a razor-thin majority in the midterm elections of 2022. Several Republicans, including Biggs, have said they won’t support him in the election.
After spending the previous day visiting the border and speaking with border guards, House Republicans held a news conference with fellow House Republicans.
McCarthy stated that the incoming heads of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, Republicans Jim Jordan of Ohio and James Comer of Kentucky, “have my total backing to examine the collapse of our border and the stoppage of ICE enforcement.”
“McCarthy is correct, leader. Responsibility for the historic problem on the southwest border should fall on Americans. In a statement released before the press conference, Jordan, who would preside over impeachment proceedings if they occurred, said that Republicans will hold Secretary Mayorkas responsible for his failure to enforce immigration law and protect the border via all necessary measures.
Republicans pledged to look into the Biden administration’s immigration and border policy as a significant component of their messaging before the midterm elections, and Comer has long maintained he will convene hearings on the border. Mayorkas will have a designated parking space from the House GOP since he will be testifying so frequently, said House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) in September.