House Republicans, just weeks away from taking control of the House of Representatives, are already indicating that border security and illegal immigration will be among the topics at the top of their agenda when they take the gavel early next year.
Republican gains in the recent midterm elections have given the GOP control of the House, although the Senate remains in Democratic hands. Within days of House control being confirmed, Republicans have already made it clear that the ongoing crisis at the border will be a priority.
That was highlighted this week when GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy led a delegation to the southern border — calling on Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to either resign or face potential impeachment next year.
“He cannot and must not remain in that position,” McCarthy said. “If Secretary Mayorkas does not resign, House Republicans will investigate every order, every action and every mistake to determine whether we can begin impeachment.”
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McCarthy said he had spoken with reps. Jim Jordan and James Comer, the ranking Republicans on the Judiciary and Oversight committees, respectively, and said they have his full support to investigate the “collapse” of the border.
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“The American public deserves more, deserves better and expects more in their government. Enough is enough. We will do whatever it takes,” he said.
The US has been hit by a nearly two-year border crisis that saw more than 1.7 million migrant encounters in FY 2021 and over 2.3 million in FY 2022. October has indicated that this increase is likely to continue as more than 230,000 hit limit in that month alone.
Separately, a federal judge recently ordered the government to wind down the use of the Title 42 public health order, which has been used to deport a majority of migrants at the border since March 2020. That has led to fears of an even greater increase and more chaos, as more migrants are released into the United States
Republicans have long hammered the Biden administration over its handling of the crisis, arguing that officials have fueled the crisis by rolling back Trump-era policies and tightening domestic enforcement. The Biden administration has said the crisis is hemisphere-wide and has called on Congress to act to fix broken US immigration laws.
“Members of Congress can do better than point the finger; they should come to the table and work on solutions to our broken system and antiquated laws that have not been revised in over 40 years,” a DHS spokesman said Wednesday . .
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Republicans in July unveiled a series of policy proposals to secure the border that they said they would advance if they took the House. Policies include completing the Trump-era border wall, expanding Title 42, modernizing technology and overhauling the asylum system.
“I think we’re going to be very aggressive, and I think the administration is going to have some choices to make,” House Homeland Security Committee ranking member John Katko told Fox in July. “Are they going to spin their wheels for two years and get nothing done, or are they going to work with the Republicans if the Republicans are in the majority and start doing some of the things that the Republicans want?“
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In addition to his suggestion that multiple House committees will be firing on all cylinders in investigating the crisis, McCarthy also said he intends to hold hearings physically at the border so Democrats can witness the crisis firsthand.
Separately, Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan drew battle lines with the administration this week, sending a letter with other lawmakers calling for “unfettered cooperation” from Mayorkas and other DHS officials in testifying before the committee next year.
Republicans asked DHS to prepare those officials to appear in person at committee hearings or give transcribed interviews, and threatened to “resort to compulsory process” if the department and its sub-agency do not comply.
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Also this week, Jordan, along with Senate Judiciary Chuck Grassley, filed a request for documents and information about a Venezuelan parole program they believe is in violation of federal law.
McCarthy, meanwhile, is likely to face continued pressure from the right in his caucus on the issue if he does not continue to press the administration on the issue of border security. Rep. Andy Biggs, who co-chairs the Border Security Caucus, expressed his displeasure with McCarthy’s announcement.
“Mayorkas must be impeached. Period. Without hesitation,” he said.
Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo and Bill Melugin contributed to this report.