GOP Congressman Introduces Two Articles to Impeach DHS Head Mayorkas Over Migrant Crisis
22:59 GMT 10.08.2021 (Updated: 23:00 GMT 10.08.2021)
© REUTERS / HANNAH BEIERU.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas hands informational pamphlets to essential and public-facing workers arriving to receive their coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at one of FEMA's Community Vaccination Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 2, 2021.
Republicans accuse the White House of creating what they term a "humanitarian catastrophe" on the southern US border amid reports of a record-breaking number of illegal migrants and concerns that temporary detention facilities have become a hotbed for COVID-19.
Republican Representative Andy Biggs announced on Tuesday a motion to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for “high crimes and misdemeanors” in undermining the security of the US border, Fox News said.
It will be hard for his action to succeed, as Democrats have the majority in the House and the Senate is split in half, with Democrat Vice President Kamala Harris casting a deciding vote in the event of a tie. Biggs said that his motion was introduced not because of Mayorkas' "personality” and “partisanship."
"I don’t care about that. What this is about is he is enacting bad policy," he said.
The official document includes two articles of impeachment, related to border security and violations of pandemic protocols.
The congressman stated that the Secretary of Homeland Security has “to achieve and maintain operational control” over the US border, which implies the ‘‘prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband.”
“Secretary Mayorkas has violated, and continues to violate, this requirement by failing to maintain operational control of the border and releasing hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens into the interior of the United States,” the document reads.
Regarding security issues, Biggs mentioned the suspension of the Trump-era US-Mexico wall construction and Migrant Protection Protocols, the "reinstituted catch and release policies of the Obama administration" - the practice of releasing illegal immigrants into the US, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
According to Biggs, “reckless” actions” have “subverted the will of Congress and the core tenants of the Constitution” and “directly led to an increase in illegal aliens and illegal narcotics, including deadly fentanyl, entering the United States.”
The second article criticizes Mayorkas for putting “departmental personnel and American citizens at risk of exposure to and contracting COVID-19.” In particular, Mayorkas is accused by Biggs of not properly implementing Title 42 of the Public Health Service Act, which gives the right to close entry for people from countries experiencing a bad pandemic situation.
The Biggs paper continues that if certain immigrants weren’t rapidly turned away, the Secretary at least shouldn’t been releasing them into the interior of the US.
“However, instead of detaining aliens as required by law, under Secretary Mayorkas’s direction, the Department of Homeland Security has released and transported hundreds of thousands of aliens into the interior of the United States without properly screening the aliens for COVID-19 to ensure that the aliens would not spread COVID-19,” Biggs wrote.
The worrying pandemic situation in the US earlier sparked outrage as the border custodies, including those for migrant children, were said to not be complying with coronavirus safety rules.
© REUTERS / GO NAKAMURAAsylum-seeking migrant families from Central America wait to be processed by the U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States of America from Mexico in Roma, Texas, U.S., July 28, 2021.
Asylum-seeking migrant families from Central America wait to be processed by the U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States of America from Mexico in Roma, Texas, U.S., July 28, 2021.
As NBC reported on Saturday, over the past few weeks, the number of migrants who have tested positive for the coronavirus has skyrocketed, standing currently at 18 percent, which could be attributed to long stays at border control facilities. Over 25 percent of migrants who were to be deported have tested positive, forcing US authorities to leave them in the country for additional time.
A US Southern Border Crisis
Currently, more than 15,000 immigrants are currently held at border detention facilities, according to data from US Customs and Border Protection. The number of arrests at the border has increased significantly, soaring to 210,000 in July, compared with 172,000 in May and 78,000 in January. At current rates, the total number of border arrests in the 2021 fiscal year is expected to be the highest since 2000, when US authorities detained nearly 1.7 million migrants, according to Reuters.
US President Joe Biden has been repeatedly criticized by Republicans for abolishing a number of strict Trump-era border policies, known as “zero tolerance” policies. Among other things, the current administration green-lighted entry for migrant children who cross the border without adults, and halted a “Remain in Mexico” program and many deportations.
Amid growing pressure, the DHS on 31 July announced the resumption of expedited deportation for illegal migrants, a practice suspended after the new administration took office.