House Republicans have been unhappy about the Biden administration’s approach to illegal immigration ever since President Joe Biden took office.
His orders reversing the policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump, led to a border crisis in which more than a million migrants — including record numbers of unaccompanied children — have entered the United States.
Things are expected to get even worse next month with the administration’s decision to stop enforcing Title 42, a rule Trump instituted during the pandemic allowing the U.S. to turn away illegal immigrants on the grounds that they could be bringing COVID-19 into the country.
Border officials are bracing for a flood of migrants when enforcement of the provision ends.
Conservatives in the House apparently have seen enough. The Republican Study Committee, which represents more than 150 conservative members, is fixing its sights on the man in charge of border security and immigration under Biden.
The group is laying the groundwork to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Axios reported on Monday.
According to the report, an RSC member said “many” on the committee already want to impeach him.
Mayorkas is set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee for the first time on Thursday, The Hill reported. Most are expecting Republicans to grill him about the administration’s border policy.
But even before the hearing, the RSC and other GOP lawmakers began laying the foundation for impeachment.
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On Monday, 133 House Members — led by RSC Chairman Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana and Texas Rep. Brian Babin — sent a letter to Mayorkas accusing him of unlawful approaches to immigration and security that have brought more danger to the United States.
“Your actions have willingly endangered American citizens and undermined the rule of law and our nation’s sovereignty. Your failure to secure the border and enforce the laws passed by Congress raises grave questions about your suitability for office,” the letter read.
“Current law requires you to maintain operational control of the southern border and detain illegal aliens,” the Republicans wrote. “You continue to fail to do so. This raises significant questions about your commitment to securing our Homeland and the oath you took when taking office.”
That same day, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who signed the letter, indicated that impeachment was on the table for Mayorkas, The Hill reported.
“This is his moment in time to do his job. But at any time if someone is derelict in their job, there is always the option of impeaching somebody,” McCarthy said during a news conference from Eagle Pass, Texas.
“But right now, he’s got 30 days. His first response to us should be, ‘We should not lift Title 42,’” McCarthy said. “They’re not prepared to protect, and we cannot sustain what will happen to this nation.”
However, Axios quoted “a source familiar with the group’s discussions” as saying McCarthy favors “a more restrained approach to impeachment.”
The source said the minority leader “wants to make the case before we go for the jugular.”
If Mayorkas were impeached, he would be only the second member of a president’s Cabinet to face that fate.
Secretary of War William Belknap was impeached by the House in 1876 for allegedly taking bribes, but he was later acquitted.
The outcry against Mayorkas got louder following the administration’s announcement early this month that Title 42 enforcement would soon end.
The provision was set to be lifted on May 23, but a federal judge has temporarily blocked the administration from ending it, CNN reported.