OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Republicans in the House are planning to move ahead with contempt charges against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as well as consideration of impeachment following reports that terrorist suspects have been crossing the porous U.S.-Mexico border, according to a Tuesday report.
The Washington Examiner reported that House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) said Monday afternoon that Mayorkas “had failed to thoroughly answer questions from three House committees on the number of illegal immigrants arrested at the border who were on the FBI’s terror watch list.”
“A spokeswoman for Scalise said Mayorkas had opened himself up to serious consequences by withholding national security information, including being held in contempt of Congress and impeachment,” the outlet’s report continued.
Scalise spokeswoman Lauren Fine noted in an email to the outlet: “All options are on the table.”
“Secretary Mayorkas failed to substantively respond to this important national security request,” Scalise noted in a press release.
The Examiner added:
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH), House Oversight and Government Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-KY), and House Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green (R-TN) had asked Mayorkas in a May 19 letter to provide documents and other information about the increasing number of illegal immigrants with terrorism ties who were apprehended at the southern border.
DHS did confirm to the committees that it had received the requests and that Scalise issued his statement while DHS was working on the matter, according to a source familiar with the process who was authorized to speak with the Washington Examiner.
The same official also said DHS had communicated with committee staff about the legal restrictions, sensitive law enforcement information, and multiple agencies involved that made responding quickly more difficult.
Border Patrol agents in southeastern Arizona successfully apprehended a Pakistani national in May who was on the FBI’s terrorism watch list and attempted to enter the United States illegally from Mexico. The arrest took place shortly after another incident where an Afghan national on the terror watch list was apprehended in California the previous week.
From October through April, the start of the fiscal year, Border Patrol agents stationed at the southern border successfully stopped 96 individuals on the FBI terror watch list from entering the United States illegally.
It is worth noting that the number represents a small percentage compared to the total number of apprehensions made by Border Patrol during the same period, which exceeded 1.1 million.
Last month, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) called for Mayorkas to be impeached, claiming his “failure to act” as the chief border official necessitates his removal while calling upon Congress to take action.
Emmer said since Mayorkas won’t resign voluntarily, “he should be impeached.”
Emmer discussed the contentious issue of impeachment, going on to say that the overwhelmed southern border stands as a prime example of what he deems as the “greatest malfeasance” by President Biden’s top border official.
“They talk about being humane. Children are disappearing. People are getting killed,” Emmer said. “You’ve got 80 people that have come across the southern border that are on the terrorist watch list.”
Emmer’s remarks followed Biden’s decision to lift the Title 42 border barrier, a policy that former President Donald Trump implemented under the pretext of addressing the coronavirus pandemic. Title 42 had served as one of the last remaining tools for border officials to attempt to manage the influx of illegal migration at the border.
According to federal data, U.S. border officials had encountered more than five million illegal migrants since Biden took office and reversed most of Trump’s immigration and border security policies on his first day.
“This, to me, is the greatest malfeasance, and malfeasance is — it’s not a failure to act — it’s an intentional failure to act. Mayorkas should be impeached,” Emmer said. “I think we should be talking seriously about that regardless of what this feckless Senate might want to do.”