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Mayorkas Accused of 'Total Failure' at Southern Border as Impeachment Delayed

Migrants who had been waiting for temporary transit papers but failed to get them after waiting, some up to two months, leave Tapachula, Mexico, Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, as they make their way to the U.S. border. (AP Photo/Edgar Clemente)

WASHINGTON – The impeachment trial of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will be delayed by at least a week. 

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson announced he will hold off on sending the articles of impeachment to give Senate Republicans more time to argue for a full trial.  

Democrats hope to quickly dismiss the proceeding and move on to other business.

Secretary Mayorkas, meanwhile, testified on Capitol Hill on Wednesday about the DHS budget for 2025. Republicans took the opportunity to grill him over ongoing accusations of failed policies at the border. 

"You and the Biden Administration, over the past few years, have reversed the secure policies that were working. You stopped the border wall construction, expanded parole, allowed for millions of individuals, as we've heard, including known suspected terrorists, cartel members, unforgivable levels of fentanyl, and illicit drugs and substances into our country... Yet again, you sit before this committee and ask for out-of-touch priorities, again, and refuse to take accountability for the total failure you have allowed for at the southern border," said Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa). 

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Mayorkas defended his record and the agency, and pointed a finger back at Congress, accusing lawmakers of ignoring a bipartisan bill designed to fix an immigration system he labels as fundamentally broken.

"The bipartisan bill that a group of senators worked on, I had the privilege of being seated with them, would have delivered a consequence regime like no other. It would have been the first time since 1996 that our broken system would have delivered the much-needed fixes that we need to fully enforce the law," Mayorkas explained. 

Some key issues flagged by Republicans in the proposed budget include the following: a cut in funding from last year, despite a surge in migrant encounters; a request for fewer detention beds than the previous year; and money for only 350 new border patrol agents. 

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The DHS Secretary pointed out that due to Congressional delays, he submitted the 2025 budget request before they passed funding for 2024 – timing which hindered him from predicting more accurate figures. 

"It is at every stage of the apprehension-removal process, and everything in between, we need resources; more border patrol agents; more support personnel so we can ensure those border patrol agents are out in the field doing the work for which they signed up and for which they are so skilled to perform; more asylum officers; immigration and customs enforcement personnel; more detention capacity," said Mayorkas.

He also faced questions about President Biden possibly issuing an executive order shutting down the southern border by the end of the month – an action long considered the "nuclear option." 

"We are consistently evaluating what options are available to us...executive action, which is inevitably challenged in the courts, is no substitute for the enduring solution of legislation that will fix what everyone agrees is a broken immigration system," Mayorkas said. 

Next week, the secretary is scheduled to testify before the House Homeland Security Committee, facing many of the lawmakers issuing the loudest calls for his impeachment. 

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