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Congressional lawmakers weighed in on whether Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has positively or negatively influenced border security ahead of the House's vote on his impeachment.
"I think that he’s violated the law on purpose," Rep. Matt Gaetz told Fox News. "I think he deserves impeachment for that."
But Rep. Lloyd Doggett called the impeachment case against Mayorkas "appalling."
"I think certainly one could look back on this time and recognize there are improvements that could have been made, but the idea of impeaching him under these circumstances at the very time he’s trying to develop a bipartisan agreement is appalling," the Texas Democrat said.
The Republican-led House Rules Committee voted 8-4 on Monday to send an impeachment case against Mayorkas to the full chamber for a vote. The two impeachment articles accuse Mayorkas of refusing to comply with federal immigration laws and violating the public's trust.
The full chamber passed a motion for debate on Mayorkas' impeachment 216-209 Tuesday. A second series of votes will follow the debate. If the impeachment resolution passes, it will head to the Democrat-led Senate, where it's expected to fail.
"Mayorkas has not done his job," Rep. Doug LaMalfa said. "He can at least be fighting back, or he can resign the position if he feels the job he’s supposed to do isn’t being done or isn’t being allowed to be done."
"He’s not done his constitutional duty," the California Republican said. "It’s not a matter of incompetence. It’s a matter of willful ignorance."
The vote came on the heels of the Senate's long-awaited bipartisan border security deal being revealed on Sunday, which sparked fierce condemnation from some House Republicans. Among other criticisms, House leaders said in a Monday statement that the bill would give too much authority to Mayorkas, who "has proven he will exploit every measure possible, in defiance of the law, to keep the border open."
Mayorkas has been "forcibly making the border wide open and endangering the American people," Rep. Chip Roy told Fox News.
There were over 2.4 million migrant encounters during fiscal 2023, up from roughly 1.7 million in 2021, according to Customs and Border Protection data. In December, they reached a record-high of 302,000.
I’m "disappointed from some of what I’ve seen from [Mayorkas], but I think that disagreement in terms of job performance is not an impeachable offense," Rep. Chris Pappas, a New Hampshire Democrat, said. "We should be giving him the tools he needs to do the job."
Constitutional scholars have criticized the impeachment push against Mayorkas. Alan Dershowitz, for example, called the charges against the Homeland Security secretary "vague," while Jonathan Turley said there's no "cognizable basis" for impeachment.
Pappas said Congress needs to step up to enact change at the southern border.
"We’ve got to have some order at the border," he said. "We also need greater investments. That’s where Congress comes in. We need to be a partner here."