EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Democratic lawmakers and pro-immigrant groups are pushing back against a GOP leader’s intent to oust Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday in El Paso gave Mayorkas until Jan. 3 to resign or face a congressional investigation and possible impeachment. U.S. Rep. McCarthy, R-California, is in line to become speaker now that the Republicans have regained the majority in the House of Representatives.
“Our nation has never been so at risk and (border agents’) lives have never been harder. Together we bear witness to the worst border crisis in U.S. history,” McCarthy said in El Paso. “We have lost operational control of our Southern border, empowering drug cartels and human traffickers […] His actions have produced the greatest wave of illegal immigration in recorded history. Our country may never recover from Secretary Mayorkas’ dereliction of duty.”
But U.S. Reps. Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia, both Democrats from Texas, characterized the threat as political posturing and a photo-op on the part of the Republicans.
“Leader McCarthy’s threat to impeach Secretary Mayorkas does nothing to improve the situation at our border, and his visit to El Paso today was more of what Republicans have been doing at the border for years: they parachute in, use the border as a photo-op, and their only solution is to champion more of their same failed, expensive policies that address immigration as a border-only issue,” Escobar said in a statement.
Escobar said she would continue to push for funding for border communities and reforms to the U.S. immigration system. “I hope Republican members of Congress one day soon decide to act legislatively instead of performatively,” she said.
Garcia also called for Republicans to support Democratic bills that offer legalization of undocumented immigrants including those brought to the U.S. as children, and increased pathways to legal immigration. She disqualified McCarthy’s border visit.
“It’s a broken record,” she told The Texas Tribune. “It’s all photo ops. The time has passed for photo ops and visits. The time to act is now.”
Vanessa Cardenas, executive director of America’s Voice, a nonprofit that advocates for immigrants, also called for legalization and more legal avenues for people to come into the country.
“At a time when the greatest domestic threat to national security in America is the rise of white nationalist extremism, it is appalling that Kevin McCarthy and his minions have decided to investigate and try to impeach the very person responsible for America’s security against this escalating threat,” Cardenas said in a statement.
She accused Republicans of failing to support additional funding for customs and cargo inspections. Instead, “they continue the same messaging and political stunts on immigrants and border security that gets headlines on Fox and Breitbart but fails the American people,” she said.
Border Report reached out to Mayorkas’ office for comment and was told he has no plans to resign.
“Secretary Mayorkas is proud to advance the noble mission of this Department, support its extraordinary workforce, and serve the American people. The Department will continue our work to enforce our laws and secure our border, while building a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system,” DHS said in response to a Border Report inquiry.