Rep. Jim Jordan took the case to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, telling The Washington Times he “deserves it” after overseeing an unprecedented wave of illegal activity on the southern border.
Jordan, who is lining up to chair the House Judiciary Committee with jurisdiction over impeachment if Republicans gain control of the chamber in November, said the decision to pull the trigger will be made collectively.
But the Ohio Republican expressed support for the idea in an interview with The Times.
“Mayorcas deserves it,” said Mr. Jordan. “He’s told us how often the border is safe and you could almost say, ‘What are you talking about?’ There isn’t a rational person with a shred of common sense who thinks the border is safe, we don’t really have a border anymore, and we’ve had a record millions of illegal migrants, so he certainly deserves it, but that will be a decision we as a committee and one that we take as a conference.”
Mr Mayorkas is the most likely first target as Republicans control impeachment power, but he is not the only possibility.
Several GOP lawmakers have taken measures to support impeachment against President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. None of them made it anywhere in the Democrat-controlled chamber.
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Mayorkas’ impeachment resolution sponsored by Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona has received the most support, with more than 30 GOP members applying.
When asked if the votes for impeachment are in place, Mr. Jordan paused.
“I don’t know, but I do think there is a strong feeling among House Republicans, especially House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, that Mayorkas has done an absolutely terrible job,” he said.
Impeachment requires only a majority vote in the House.
Once an official is impeached, the Senate holds a trial. It takes a two-thirds majority in the Senate to convict and be fired.
Only one cabinet official has ever been impeached, in 1876, and the Senate did not vote for conviction in that case. Several others have resigned while impeachment proceedings were ongoing in the House.
Written more than a year ago, Mr Biggs’ measure describes the case against Mr Mayorkas as “a pattern of behavior incompatible with his duties”. That included halting the construction of the border wall and overseeing the capture and release of unprecedented numbers of illegal immigrants, and an increase in the trade in illegal drugs such as fentanyl.
Mr Jordan said the case against Mr Mayorkas would be a “failure to enforce the law and secure the border in general”.
He said the number of terrorist suspects trying to sneak into the US could become part of an impeachment process. From October 1 to August 30, Border Patrol agents arrested 78 people on the government’s terrorist list.
Mr Jordan confronted Mr Mayorkas about the number earlier this year and demanded to know what had happened to them.
‘Were they sent back? Have they been released? What is the score? He said, “I don’t know.” That in itself would raise concerns about your suitability for this job,” said Mr. Jordan.
Homeland Security declined to comment.
In the past, Mr Mayorkas brushed aside calls for his impeachment. He told CNN earlier this year that he wasn’t worried. “I’m focused on mission,” he told the network.
He has defended his decisions as restoring humanity to an immigration system he believes tilted too far during the Trump years. Mr Mayorkas says he has a vision for a safe, secure and orderly flow of migrants and is trying to implement those plans.
Critics wonder why those plans weren’t there before he spearheaded the dismantling of the Trump-era tools that had largely calmed the border.
The call for the impeachment of Mr. Mayorkas has been increasing lately.
Chad Wolf, who was acting secretary in the Trump administration, told The Times’ “Politically Unstable” podcast in August that there was a “very strong case” for him to be impeached.
“Your job is to enforce the laws as Congress has written,” said Mr. Wolf. “There are some things Congress has told you to do, and if you say, ‘I’m not going to do that because I have limited resources and I’m just going to [categories of] people of that,’ I’d say, that’s a good example of ignoring the law.”
A former ambassador to Mexico, Christopher Landau, who served in the Trump administration, also said Mr Mayorkas should be impeached.
The GOP’s appetite for impeachment has been fueled in part by President Trump’s two impeachment charges, both of which failed to win enough votes for conviction in the Senate.