OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy verbally assailed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, accusing him of “impeachable conduct” regarding his handling of illegal immigration.
In a letter to Mayorkas, Roy addressed reports that the administration is set to rescind Title 42, the statute used by the Trump administration to quickly deport illegal aliens during the COVID-19 pandemic as potential threats to the country.
The Texas Republican told the DHS boss that if he allows the statute to expire, his actions would “be unconscionable and, without question, an impeachable offense in its own right.”
At present, the law is set to expire on Wednesday.
“Your job as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security — carried out under your oath to defend the Constitution — is to secure the United States of America. Yet, you have purposefully failed to do so, and in the process you have empowered criminal drug cartels, impaired the health of Americans, damaged America’s economic health, allowed illegal migrants to destroy private property, and placed American citizens at imminent risk of physical harm,” Roy wrote.
“These actions represent acts of impeachable conduct as Secretary — which we have documented in part — and represent a call to action for Congress to hold you to account.”
Roy added that “even if Congress were to set aside all these previous actions representing a breach of your duty and were to focus solely on the imminent decision you are purportedly planning to take — halting, particularly at this moment, the enforcement of 42 U.S. Code § 265 (Title 42) authority at the U.S. southern border — we would still be duty bound to impeach you.”
On Roy’s official Twitter account, he claimed that “[t]he open borders crowd HATES this crucial Trump-era policy because it obstructs Democrats’ plan to bring as many illegal migrants as possible into the interior US. The Biden Admin has already chosen to eliminate enforcement as much as possible.”
The open borders crowd HATES this crucial Trump-era policy because it obstructs Democrats’ plan to bring as many illegal migrants as possible into the interior US.
The Biden Admin has already chosen to eliminate enforcement as much as possible.
— Rep. Chip Roy Press Office (@RepChipRoy) March 29, 2022
“Mayorkas has long REFUSED to FULLY enforce Title 42. Fewer than 60% of illegal encounters have been turned away under Title 42 since Mayorkas took office. Before he took office, 80% were turned away,” he added.
Yet even with that comparison, Roy also wrote to Mayorkas, “Sadly, the use of Title 42 authority has been the lone vestige of southern border security policy the United States has conducted under your leadership.”
“In fact, since you became Secretary, your Department has used Title 42 as the basis for almost ALL of those refused entry,” Roy added. “Though, prior to your assumption of the post of DHS Secretary more than 80% were turned away and now only 50% – at least there was some brake.”
In a recent report, Roll Call noted that “border agents have expelled migrants more than 1.7 million times since the directive was implemented, including more than a million times last year alone.”
The congressional pushback on rescinding Title 42 is bipartisan. In a letter to President Joe Biden last week, Arizona’s two Democratic senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly, implored him not to end Title 42 while warning of a “mass migration event.”
We write to you to express great concern about the lack of a specific plan from your Administration with respect to potential changes to the Title 42 Public Health authority, which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has relied on at the border during the coronavirus pandemic.
Given the impacts that changes to Title 42 could have on border communities, border security, and migrants, we urge your Administration not to make any changes to Title 42 implementation until you are completely ready to execute and coordinate a comprehensive plan that ensures a secure, orderly, and humane process at the border. We also request that you provide a full briefing to Congress on your plan before implementation and execution…
Last month alone, CBP expelled 91,513 migrants under Title 42, and processed 73,460 individuals under Title 8.1 The January figures are comparable, showing only a slight trend upward on the number of expulsions. Of those encounters, nearly thirty percent occurred in Arizona.2 A sharp end to Title 42 without a comprehensive plan in motion would significantly increase the strain on DHS, border communities, and local nonprofits that are already near or at capacity.