Skip to content

White House pushes back on GOP border inaction as House plans Mayorkas impeachment

The White House is hitting out at Republicans’ failure to approve needed border security funding and their plan to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as House Speaker Mike Johnson and the House GOP continue to blame President Joe Biden and his administration for continuing record migrant arrivals along the US-Mexico border.

It has been more than two months since Mr Biden asked Congress to enact a supplemental appropriations bill to fund critical national defence and security needs, including billions for stepped-up border enforcement and processing of asylum seekers.

The president again called on Congress to act upon his return to the White House on Tuesday when he was asked what he planned to do about the continued glut of migrant crossings.

Mr Biden, who had just alighted from Marine One after a weeklong sojourn in St Croix, told reporters: “We’ve got to do something. They ought to give me the money I need to protect the border.”

Yet despite the president’s repeated entreaties, the supplemental funding bill — including provisions to continue defence assistance to Ukraine and Israel — remains at an impasse over the GOP’s demand that Mr Biden agree to draconian changes to US immigration policies meant to make it more difficult — if not impossible — for largely non-white immigrants from South and Central America and other countries to claim asylum at the US-Mexico border or receive protection from removal from the country.

The GOP hostage-taking, which is reminiscent of other Republican-induced crises over funding for the US government and the federal debt ceiling, has held up funding for multiple US defence priorities in recent weeks. But the failure to advance the legislation hasn’t stopped the GOP from blaming Mr Biden for record migrant arrivals, and Mr Johnson is continuing the same pattern with a trip leading roughly 60 of his GOP colleagues to the border region on Wednesday.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates panned the Louisiana Republican’s inaction in a statement noting that in blocking the funding bill, the GOP had essentially voted to “eliminate over 2,000 Border Patrol agents and erode our capacity to seize fentanyl” and skip town amid negotiations over a bipartisan compromise bill between Senate Republicans, Democrats and the White House.

“In fact, right now, instead of joining the Biden Administration and members of both parties in the Senate to find common ground, Speaker Johnson is continuing to block President Biden’s proposed funding to hire thousands of new Border Patrol agents, hire more asylum officers and immigration judges, provide local communities hosting migrants additional grant funding, and invest in cutting edge technology that is critical to stopping deadly fentanyl from entering our country,” he said.

He added later that the GOP had “obstructed [Mr Biden’s] reform proposal and consistently voted against his unprecedented border security funding year after year, hamstringing our border security in the name of extreme, partisan demands”.

In addition to Mr Johnson’s excursion to the US-Mexico border this week, many of his colleagues in the House of Representatives are planning to launch impeachment proceedings against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas when they return to Washington next week.

In a statement first reported by CNN, the GOP-led panel announced the completion of what it described as a “comprehensive investigation into Secretary Mayorkas’ handling of, and role in, the unprecedented crisis at the Southwest border.”

“Following the bipartisan vote in the House to refer articles of impeachment against the secretary to our Committee, we will be conducting hearings and taking up those articles in the coming weeks,” the statement said.

Republicans have long accused Mr Mayorkas and Mr Biden of allowing for migrant crossings at the US-Mexico border to reach high levels without enforcing the law.

“The Committee will ensure that the public is aware of the scope of Secretary Mayorkas’ egregious misconduct and refusal to enforce the law, but also that this process is completed promptly and accountability is achieved swiftly—as the American people have demanded,” the statement read.

For his part, Mr Johnson said the purpose of his trip on Wednesday is to highlight what he and his colleagues have called a national crisis of undocumented immigrants crossing into the country.

“This situation requires significant policy changes and House Republicans will continue advocating for real solutions that actually secure our border,” he posted on social media.

Efforts to impeach Mr Mayorkas come as Senate Republicans have demanded that Democrats agree to drastic restrictions to immigration in exchange for providing additional support to Ukraine. Mr Mayorkas has taken part in the immigration-Ukraine negotiations.

Mr Mayorkas pointed that out when he responded to the hearing news on Morning Joe on Wednesday.

“I was on the Hill to provide technical advice in those ongoing negotiations,” he said. “Before I headed to the Hill, I was in the office working on solutions. After my visit to the Hill, I was back in my office working on solutions. That’s what we do working in the Department of Homeland Security.”

Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene, the right-wing conspiracy theorist congresswoman from Georgia, has long pushed for Mr Mayorkas’s impeachment.

Ms Greene claimed victory in a statement on X formerly known as Twitter.

“I reintroduced my resolution the very next week and pulled it only once I was guaranteed we would impeach Mayorkas in January,” she said. “Well, I’m happy to report that the first official impeachment hearing for Secretary Mayorkas will be taking place next Wednesday!”