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House Majority Whip Tom Emmer on Tuesday predicted Democrats will pay at the ballot box for failing to back the impeachment of DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, ahead of a vote on impeachment articles later in the evening.
"I think the Democrats are making a mistake once again, especially some of the folks in South Texas, some of the people in New York and other states where immigration has become a huge issue, Illegal immigration. I think they're making a mistake by not supporting this. And they will answer for that at the ballot box," he said.
Emmer spoke to Fox News Digital ahead of votes on two articles of impeachment which accuse Mayorkas of having "repeatedly violated laws enacted by Congress regarding immigration and border security" and of having "made false statements to Congress" that the border is secure and closed and that DHS is in operational control of the border.
The vote is expected to go mostly along party lines, but Republicans have so far seen two lawmakers announce they will be voting against the articles. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., issued a scathing statement against the articles earlier Tuesday, while Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., is also expected to vote against the legislation. The House majority is slim and Republicans can only afford three defections if all lawmakers are present and all Democrats vote against impeachment.
Emmer says he doesn’t share whip counts with anybody, but rejected criticism that Republicans were impeaching Mayorkas over policy differences and said that the House will "perform our constitutional obligation tonight."
"This literally is about somebody who has willfully, willfully, and systematically, created an agency's ability to subvert our laws. They are literally violating our laws," he said.
Republicans have accused Mayorkas and the administration of fueling the crisis with "open border" policies including "catch-and-release," reduced interior enforcement and the rolling back of Trump-era policies they believe helped secure the border. Mayorkas has denied those claims even amid record numbers at the border, and found support from Democrats and some former DHS officials among others. Former Bush-era DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff recently called on Republicans to "drop this impeachment charade" and work with Mayorkas to solve the crisis.
Mayorkas himself defended himself against impeachment last week in a letter to Republicans, in which he slammed the allegations as "false" and "baseless" and called on Congress to reform a broken system and provide more funding.
"I assure you that your false accusations do not rattle me and do not divert me from the law enforcement and broader public service mission to which I have devoted most of my career and to which I remain devoted," Mayorkas said.
Should Mayorkas be impeached it’ll be the first such impeachment of a cabinet secretary since the 1800s.
"This vote is appropriate because of the individual who has purposely, willfully violated the law, and refused to do his job," Emmer told Fox. "I think that's one, but two, it's also the only thing we can do at this point. It's the only tool we're left with. Because, we have got a White House that refuses to do anything, and we have one-half of one-third of government."
Meanwhile, in the upper chamber, a Senate border deal announced this week has faced significant opposition in the House -- but looks like it won’t even make the chamber amid massive opposition in the Senate as well.
Emmer said he was not surprised at the bill's struggles, and took aim at the inclusions in the package -- including the emergency border authority that would kick in to allow expulsions if there was a 7-day average of over 5,000 encounters a day.
"Five thousand a day before you have shutdown authority? One coming across the southern border is too many at this point and that just wasn't going to fly," he said. "I think the rumors we heard turned out to be true and worse. In effect, that bill is codified catch and release…it's making into law the very law that Mayorkas is violating."
"I think once the senators saw the text filing and read it, they realized how bad this was and this is not where the American people are. They're going to side with the American people instead of this lawlessness that we're seeing out of the Biden administration," he said.
Emmer stressed that a deal should deal with five issues he believes the House package dealt with: Restoring the Trump-era Remain-in-Mexico policy; reforming the broad use of humanitarian parole; restricting asylum laws; ending "catch-and-release"; and finishing the construction of a wall at the southern border.
"You've got to address those five things that are in H.R. 2. You have to have all well, maybe you can't get them all because we only have one-half of one-third of our federal government. But at a minimum, you should be restoring of remain in Mexico and you should be ending catch and release," he said.
Fox News' Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report.
Original article source: Top Republican says Dems 'will answer' at ballot box for not backing Mayorkas impeachment