As the new House Republican majority gets sworn in this week, they have no choice but to use the only mechanism at their disposal to highlight the emergency unfolding at the border: impeaching Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. His acts of nonfeasance include acting on the president’s orders and presiding over a situation in which the border is, for all intents and purposes, being erased.
GOP moderates — many of whom are members in good standing of the Washington uniparty — think they are obligated to pursue “governance.” This sets up a conflict in which anything the new majority does that is aimed more at exposing the administration’s catastrophic policies will be skewered as mere obstructionism and proof that Republicans are incapable of governing.
But they can — and must — ignore those criticisms given the almost complete breakdown of efforts to prevent illegal immigration in the last two years.
GOP moderates may be inclined to ignore the security dilemma and simply move to grant a path to citizenship to people who were brought into the country illegally as children — the so-called “Dreamers.” But the vast majority of conservatives as well as independents and many border state Democrats understand that anything, however well-meaning, that is done to encourage further illegal immigration, as almost certainly would be the case for action on the Dreamers, is unacceptable. The Democrats’ effort to secure a new, broader amnesty is at the heart of the current crisis.
Mayorkas will not be thrown out of office since the Democratic Senate will never convict him even if the GOP’s narrow House majority impeaches him, and it will be labeled as grandstanding and a colossal waste of time. But stunts like that and the hearings in which they can finally bring the various elements of this catastrophe before the public in a way that has not been done before. It is the only option available to those who understand that the consequences of what is happening at the border are so serious that business as usual or playing by the conventional rules of Washington politics simply isn’t good enough.
The latest figures for illegal immigration for November 2022 illustrate the extent of the problem. In that month alone, a record 233,740 illegals were apprehended at the border. That constituted a 1 percent increase over the total for October, which was itself a record for that month. On top of that, the estimate for the number of migrants who evaded capture at the border was more than 73,000, also a record. The fiscal year for Customs and Border Protection data, which ended in September, was 2.76 million, breaking the previous annual record by more than a million.
That means that since Biden came into office, there have been more than 4 million illegals crossing the border. Every estimate for the coming year says those numbers will be topped.
The record numbers come at a time when the general perception is that the Biden administration has not only largely ended the enforcement efforts of immigration laws and created a situation in which the border is more or less open for those who wish to enter illegally or for the vast number of economic migrants who are increasingly making largely bogus claims for asylum on the grounds of suffering persecution at home.
The flood of migrants is largely being managed by drug cartels who exact fees from those who wish to cross into the country and whom they use to help bring in massive amounts of illegal drugs like fentanyl, which is helping to exacerbate an ongoing American addiction crisis. This has resulted in one of the largest human trafficking schemes in modern history, destabilizing both northern Mexico and the United States.
The toll taken on Southwest border cities and states is likely to get much worse if, unless the federal courts continue to prevent it, the Center for Disease Control’s so-called “Title 42” order issued during the coronavirus pandemic that gave federal authorities the right to exclude migrants from the United States and turn them back to Mexico is ended at the behest of the Biden administration.
For the last decade, the standard number for the total of illegal immigrants now in the United States is usually reported by the press as 11 million. But as far back as September 2018, a Yale University study found that the real number was likely at least twice that if not far higher. After the last two years of surging illegal immigration, it is likely that the total of illegals in the country now exceeds 30 million.
It can be argued that impeaching an official for following the president’s orders and policy choices is unfair even if it does amount to an act of nonfeasance and doesn’t constitute a “high crime” or “misdemeanor” that the Constitution says is grounds for impeachment. But, as the Democrats showed in the last two Congresses with their attempts to force Trump from office, impeachment is a political measure, not a court of law. Mayorkas’s actions that have essentially resulted in an open border in all but name may not technically be a violation of the law, but it is an act of criminal negligence that is doing great harm to the nation with enormous potential consequences.
Whether this gambit or any other succeeds in galvanizing the attention of the public at a time when liberal legacy media is still uninterested in the surge of millions of illegals or the plight of border communities, Republicans and Democrats who understand the consequences of further indifference must do something. The longer Washington waits to cope with this problem, the worse it will get. Anything short of an all-out effort to impeach Mayorkas on the part of House Republicans must be construed as a betrayal of their voters and their responsibility to the nation.