CBP seized drugs and weapons valued at nearly $440 million at Texas ports of entry, no thanks to GOP

Cocaine seizures by U.S. officials at ports of entry rose nearly 20% compared to the previous fiscal year, official government data reveals. Border Report said that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than five tons of cocaine at ports of entry along southern Texas. “That was a 19% increase from Fiscal Year 2021,” the report said. What’s all that about so-called “open borders” again?

RELATED STORY: Huge amounts of drugs have been seized at the border and Republicans are very mad about it

Officials also seized large amounts of other illegal drugs, including more than 30,000 pounds of meth, and hundreds of pounds of fentanyl and heroin. Additionally, hundreds of guns and nearly 80,000 rounds of ammunition were also confiscated. All in all, U.S. border officials estimated the street value of all the seizures coming to nearly $440 million.

“As nonessential traffic resumed early in Fiscal Year 2022, overall workload volumes returned to normal but CBP officers continued to experience the ongoing trend of hard narcotics, particularly cocaine and significant gains in encounters of individuals without valid entry documents,” Eugene Crawford, CBP Acting Director of Field Operations for the Laredo Field Office, told Border Report.

In a separate release, CBP said that officers found cocaine valuing more than $154,000 hidden in a 2015 Ford during a crossing at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge.

“The seizure took place on Saturday, Jan. 7, at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge when a 22-year-old female United States citizen who resides in Brownsville, Texas, attempted entry into the United States driving a 2015 Ford,” the release said. The packages were found when the driver was sent to a secondary inspection area, where officials found the stash with “the aid of a non-intrusive inspection system” and a canine unit. Good doggie.

Please also note that the driver was a U.S. citizen. While available data has shown that its overwhelmingly U.S. citizens who’ve been caught with drugs at U.S. ports of entry, Republicans have sought to use this to further their nativist agenda, like RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel basically accusing migrants of personally stashing “rainbow fentanyl” into children’s mouths. Unfortunately, polling has shown way too many Americans have been successfully duped by these lies.

By the way, did anyone notice how quickly these outlandish rainbow fentanyl fears faded away after the midterm elections? I guess that means it’s fixed? Thanks, President Biden!

But Republicans have also sought to use the very serious issue of fentanyl use to further their retribution agenda. Among the grievances listed in the ridiculous impeachment resolution filed by a House Republican against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas cites in part fentanyl seizures at the southern border as justification. They want him out for stopping the drugs from coming in, apparently.

Republicans have done everything possible to create havoc at the border, in reality. That includes derailing an immigration compromise in the last session of Congress and voting against hundreds of millions of dollars in land ports of entry modernization. “Fentanyl seizures have increased under the Biden administration, which made cracking down on drug traffickers a major component of the White House plan,” immigrant rights advocacy group America’s Voice has said.

Last August, border officials seized more than $4 million dollars worth of fentanyl in one bust. That’s anything but “open borders.” Maybe all the Republican anger about these massive seizures is because it might be making the alleged partying less fun? Hmm.


Most arrested for drug smuggling are U.S. citizens. Don't count on GOP to stop attacking migrants

House Republican files impeachment resolution against Mayorkas, and it’s as silly as you think

Part of Kevin McCarthy’s corrupt bargaining in his 15-round bid for the House speakership included supporting ultra-right demands for impeachment proceedings against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. While McCarthy allegedly held no public stance on proceedings earlier in the year, he was leading the threat himself right after the election because he didn’t have the votes to win the gavel.

Part of his corrupt bargaining showed its face this week when a Texas lawmaker on the first day of the new Congress filed articles of impeachment against the secretary. The silly political document claims Mayorkas should be removed “for high crimes and misdemeanors,” and cites in part fentanyl seizures at the southern border as justification. Wait, they want him out for stopping the drugs from coming in? Republicans have been very weirdly mad about successful seizures. Now they want to impeach the guy over it.

RELATED STORY: Jordan is pushing for Mayorkas impeachment based on ridiculous lie that 'we no longer have a border'

But there’s more, folks. Pat Fallon, a forced birth and anti-LGBTQ Republican from Texas’ 4th Congressional District, also cites the Biden administration’s decision to terminate the previous administration’s Remain in Mexico policy. Despite the right-wing Supreme Court of the United States ruling that the administration acted perfectly lawfully in terminating the anti-asylum policy, Fallon thinks Mayorkas should be impeached for it.

Fallon further cites the Biden administration’s attempt to terminate the previous administration’s Title 42 order, calling it “a critical tool enabling the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to quickly expel illegal aliens.” But remember the public health order’s now-delayed Dec. 21 lift date followed a court ruling that found the scientifically debunked policy violated federal law. So is the GOP stance to now violate court orders?

When asked about impeachment articles, Mayorkas was reportedly “not fazed,” one report said. Even if it is successful, it’ll go nowhere in the U.S. Senate.

“I've got a lot of work to do, and we’re going to do it,” Mayorkas told ABC News. The official said the administration is “dealing within a broken immigration system that Congress has failed to repair for decades.” Fact check: True. Not only did Republicans like Texas Sen. John Cornyn help derail a bipartisan immigration framework at the end of the last Congress, McCarthy has promised no humane immigration legislation will get his signature.

“Number two, the world is dealing with the greatest displacement of people since World War II in the Western Hemisphere,” Mayorkas continued to ABC News. “Our entire hemisphere is gripped with a migration challenge.” New parole opportunities for migrants from regions including Venezuela and Haiti are a step forward in beginning to address these challenges; policies like Title 42 are not, considering it’s only increased apprehensions and forced vulnerable people back to danger.

If you want to see the depths of the GOP’s lack of seriousness, take a look at another Texas Republican: Rep. Chip Roy claimed the administration isn’t doing enough to secure the border, so he’s got a plan of his own: Defund DHS. During a floor speech, Roy urged his colleagues “to stop funding a Department of Homeland Security that refuses to secure the border of the United States.” He promised that the newly empowered Republicans would do that “this year.” You mean defund abusive immigration enforcement agencies? Defund child kidnappers, shooters of unarmed migrants, and the agents who abuse Black migrants before deporting themLet’s fucking go. 

Back to the impeachment resolution, one more thing to mention regarding fentanyl seizures is that Republicans have sought to turn this into a political issue against Democrats when its Republicans who voted against hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for the construction and modernization of land ports of entry.

“Improvements like ‘multi-energy portal’ screening technology would increase the ability for illicit narcotics seizures at the nation’s borders without significantly impacting the massive amount of legal trade that runs through those same POEs,” immigration reform advocacy group America’s Voice said last year. But Republicans voted against that.

NBC News reported that the articles against Mayorkas “have been referred to the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.” Jordan, a former wrestling coach who allegedly looked the other way when young students were being sexually abused at Ohio State University, has previously supported an impeachment effort, falsely claiming “we no longer have a border.” Do Republicans believe their own bullshit? It doesn’t really matter as long as they can get others to believe it.


Testimony confirms Title 42 was never about public health, it was about deporting asylum-seekers

LGBTQ advocates remind us that Stephen Miller was scheming policy 'long before' COVID 'even existed'

Texas Republican wants to secure the border by defunding department tasked with border security

Chief justice temporarily blocks Title 42 end, indicates further action from court could come soon

Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday temporarily halted the Biden administration’s planned lifting of the anti-asylum Title 42 order, granting a so-called emergency appeal from a slate of Republican attorneys general. “So-called emergency appeal,” because the appeals court panel that had last week denied the GOP request noted that the group of 19 attorneys general had waited too long to file their request.

The Biden administration had planned to lift the debunked public health order that’s used the pandemic as an excuse to quickly deport asylum-seekers in violation of their rights Tuesday evening, following a lower court order. Roberts instructed the administration to respond by this evening, indicating more action could be imminent. Legal expert Mark Joseph Stern noted that Roberts’ administrative stay “does not hint at the eventual outcome.”

RELATED STORY: D.C. Court of Appeals panel rejects GOP effort trying to keep anti-asylum policy in place

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Republicans have simultaneously claimed that the Biden administration has an “open borders” policy while insisting that the Title 42 policy—which was implemented against the advice of public health experts by noted white supremacist Stephen Miller and Mike Pence at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020—must stay in place indefinitely. They have also insisted this public health order remain as they’ve consistently challenged other pandemic-related orders by the administration.

“The Biden administration, for its part, has insisted it is prepared to lift Title 42, saying the restoration of regular immigration procedures, such expedited deportations, will allow the U.S. to gradually reduce migrant arrivals and the high rate of repeat crossings recorded during the pandemic,” CBS News reported.

That last part is crucial: Title 42 in fact led to an increase in apprehensions, because desperate people blocked from their asylum rights and expelled have had no choice but to try again. It’s a failed policy, and its lifting would put our country back on the side of respecting U.S. and international asylum law. In a statement, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that as required by Roberts’ order, “the Title 42 public health order will remain in effect at this time and individuals who attempt to enter the United States unlawfully will continue to be expelled to Mexico.”

“While this stage of the litigation proceeds, we will continue our preparations to manage the border in a safe, orderly, and humane way when the Title 42 public health order lifts,” Mayorkas continued. “We urge Congress to use this time to provide the funds we have requested for border security and management and advance the comprehensive immigration measures President Biden proposed on his first day in office.”

House Republicans set to take power in the next Congress have indicated they’re serious about leading on immigration policy … by pushing a harebrained idea to impeach Mayorkas. Over what crimes? They haven’t figured that part out yet.

Vice President Kamala Harris similarly noted the need for lawmakers to lead on comprehensive immigration measures, and she called out for Republicans for failing to come to the table. They obsess on the issue of immigration only when it’s election season (my words, not hers). For example, a proposed framework that would have passed permanent relief for young immigrants in exchange for harsh border measures recently failed, derailed by Republicans’ “border first” excuses even though there was border stuff in there.

"I think that there is so much that needs to happen to address the issue," the vice president told NPR. "And sadly, what we have seen in particular, I am sad to say, from Republicans in Congress is an unwillingness to engage in any meaningful reform that could actually fix a lot of what we are witnessing.”


Biden admin set to lift anti-asylum Title 42 order next week, but GOP appeal may now delay that

'Arbitrary and capricious': In victory for asylum-seekers, judge orders end to Miller pandemic order

Testimony confirms Title 42 was never about public health, it was about deporting asylum-seekers

Lame duck immigration framework from bipartisan senators is reportedly dead

The immigration framework proposed by two bipartisan lawmakers that would have passed permanent relief for young undocumented immigrants in exchange for harsh border measures has reportedly failed. 

Thom Tillis and Kyrsten Sinema “did not strike a deal that would have been able to secure the necessary 60 votes in the evenly divided Senate during the lame-duck session,” congressional officials told CBS News. John Cornyn “and other members of GOP leadership said there was scant Republican support for the plan,” CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez tweeted Wednesday.

RELATED STORY: Bipartisan senators drafting immigration 'framework' that would protect DACA recipients

The termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program through right-wing courts is not a matter of if, its a matter of when, and passage of a deal during the lame duck represented the last chance to pass some sort of relief before an anti-immigrant Texas judge issues his decision. Kevin McCarthy has already promised he’ll pass no humane relief, as part of his campaigning to become speaker. That includes a corrupt bargain targeting Department of Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas for impeachment.

The immigration proposal came as young immigrants (as well as the farmworkers who feed America) rallied for legislative action before the current congressional term ends in January, and was a sweet-and-sour deal attempting to garner the 10 Republicans needed to overcome the Jim Crow filibuster.

The sweet: Relief for DACA recipients, who for five years have been watching the program be attacked by Republicans, both at the federal government level and in the courts. The sour: Harsh border enforcement measures, including an extension of Stephen Miller’s anti-asylum Title 42 policy for at least another year. CNN had also reported increased border security funding, anywhere from $25 billion to $40 billion, on top of the billions that border agencies already get. But apparently, none of that was enough to convince 10 members of the GOP caucus, according to Cornyn.

Cornyn, since we’re already discussing him, once made a laughable claim in a campaign ad that he’s supported legalization for undocumented immigrant youth, and that he’s actually been fighting for them behind the scenes. But given a real, high-stakes chance to do something about, like right now during the lame duck session and as an end to the DACA program is inevitable, he's done nothing but throw cold water on the proposal.

It’s not hard to boil all this down to Republicans just not wanting to do anything about DACA recipients—even when presented with the kind of border measures they love—because they want to keep using immigrants as a political tool.

”The bill was far from ideal, but probably the best shot at heading off the crisis coming when the Supreme Court pulls the plug on DACA next June,” tweeted immigration attorney Greg Siskind. Tyler Moran, a former official with both the Obama and Biden administrations, wrote in a tweet that all Republicans “do is complain about the border—but when presented with an opportunity to provide a ton of resources for asylum, fentanyl detection & Border Patrol in exchange for DREAM, they balk. They want to perpetuate chaos, yet they are never held accountable.”

So is it over for this lame-duck session when it comes to immigration policy? There’s been a push to aid our Afghan allies evacuated to the U.S. by passing the Afghan Adjustment Act through the omnibus package. That’s something that needs to happen, because it’s owed to them. Some advocates are pushing for immigration relief via a registry update, and also through the omnibus. The hopeful part of me says it’s not over until it’s over. But the remaining options, and time, are dwindling.

“What else do we need to do,” tweeted DACA recipient Erika Andiola, a constituent of Sinema’s and a proponent of the passage of permanent relief during the lame-duck session. “How else can we get this country to accept us. To give us a chance to fully belong. Almost 15 years sacrificing so much. Fighting so hard. I’m tired. So tired.”


House caucus chairs say lawmakers 'must not let this year end' without protecting DACA recipients

DACA recipients, leading Democrats push for legalization deal in lame duck session

Farmworkers from nearly a dozen states are rallying in D.C. to urge action during lame duck session

Now faced with doing actual work, no House Republican wants to chair border funding committee

Republican Kevin McCarthy and others in his caucus have carried out campaign stunt after campaign stunt at the southern border, at times happening when the wannabe speaker is desperately attempting to distract from certain scandals that also pertain to him. What a coincidence.

But now Republicans have won slim control of the U.S. House, and they’re apparently realizing that, shit, the usual theatrics they used when in the minority might have to be replaced with some actual work. I mean, what else explains why none of them want to chair the committee tasked with border-related issues?

“The House GOP is still searching for a senior lawmaker willing to head the politically combustible panel that oversees funding for the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies for the next Congress, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions,” Politico reports this week. Typically, you’d think that the top minority member of a committee would be absolutely chomping at the bit following a change in power, but the outlet said that the committee’s senior Republican, Tennessee’s Chuck Fleischmann, has his eyes set elsewhere.

“And Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), who previously led the committee, said: ‘I don’t know who wants it,’” the report continued.

Politico framed the panel as one that has faced “gridlock,” but that’s because it has required working with committee members from the opposing party. It requires figuring out numbers for operations and personnel and studying departments and agencies and actual work that isn’t filming a video amid the shrubbery of the Rio Grande like some nature special. The committee’s current chair, California’s Lucille Roybal-Allard, is a respected lawmaker who has led on meaningful immigration-related legislation.

Shitting on the opposing party’s administration policies, particularly on issues as complex and nuanced as immigration, is easy enough when you’re in the minority. You get to complain and point fingers and do it all on some right-wing program or to racist propaganda outlets. But when you control the committees, it’s a lot harder to try to blame the other party for issues that you railed on as a campaign strategy, because that’s all immigration is to Republicans. A fucking campaign strategy.

“Here the clearest sign on how little Republicans care about the border—other than using it as a political issue to divide America: The House GOP can’t find anyone to chair the committee that writes the budget for the border,” tweeted Sen. Chris Murphy, who chairs the upper chamber’s version of the committee. Somebody is going to have to head the committee in the end. Politico reports that the next Republican in line, Steven Palazzo, is also out of the running because he won’t be in Congress anymore after losing his primary. After him are Florida’s John Rutherford, who defended the previous administration’s kidnapping at the border, and Iowa’s Ashley Hinson, who once touted federal funding she had earlier labeled as “socialist.”

House Republicans are eager to begin working for the American people in January (did you set your sarcasm meter to 10 already?), focusing on priorities like Hunter Biden’s laptop, dragging Twitter employees in for questioning about the president’s son, and likely seeking an impeachment inquiry against the president himself. Over what, they haven’t exactly figured out yet. The lack of interest in this top committee continues to show they have absolutely no interest in governing. What a waste these next two years are going to be.

Well, that was an awesome way to finish out the 2022 election cycle! Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard revel in Raphael Warnock's runoff victory on this week's episode of The Downballot and take a deep dive into how it all came together. The Davids dig into the turnout shift between the first and second rounds of voting, what the demographic trends in the metro Atlanta area mean for Republicans, and why Democrats can trace their recent success in Georgia back to a race they lost: the famous Jon Ossoff special election in 2017.

We're also joined by one of our very favorite people, Daily Kos Elections alum Matt Booker, who shares his thoughts on the midterms and tells us about his work these days as a pollster. Matt explains some of the key ways in which private polling differs from public data; how the client surveys he was privy to did not foretell a red wave; and the mechanics of how researchers put together focus groups. Matt also reminisces about his time at "DKE University" and how his experience with us prepared him for the broader world of politics.

House members urge federal intervention into Greg Abbott’s white nationalist declaration

Is Greg Abbott looking to the 2024 presidential race? Quite possibly, and groan, because after trouncing Beto O’Rourke in the 2022 election by nearly one million votes, the right-wing governor is continuing his string of nativist stunts, this week officially declaring supposed powers that he claims allow him to take “unprecedented measures” to defend Texas “against an invasion.”

No one’s being invaded, and Abbott knows that. He’s instead signaling to the white nationalists who like to use this language. But just as importantly, some of the supposed powers that Abbott claims he has, like returning migrants to the border, are strictly the job of the federal government. A number of lawmakers from Texas say it's incumbent on the government to intervene.

RELATED STORY: D.C. attorney general says he's probing whether migrants bused to capital were tricked by GOP

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“As members of Congress representing the great state of Texas, we are deeply disturbed with recent comments made by the Governor of Texas suggesting he has invoked invasion authorities under the U.S. Constitution to justify the use of state resources to further militarize our southern border,” lawmakers led by former Trump impeachment manager Sylvia Garcia tell the Biden administration in a letter obtained by The Hill. They not only object to Abbott’s supposed authority, they object to his reckless, flame-throwing rhetoric.

“Legal authority aside, there is simply not an invasion happening at the border,” they continued. “Many of the immigrants arriving at our border are exercising their right to claim asylum and other forms of humanitarian relief. They are not waging war against the United States or Texas.”

It is sad that even has to be said, but Abbott has a history of signaling to violent white supremacists through his rhetoric. He knows damn well that “invasion” wording was used by the racist mass gunman who murdered Texans at a Walmart in 2019, yet he’s continued to echo that rhetoric as recently as this past summer. Greg Abbott knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s further endangering lives—even as racist mass shooters since El Paso have echoed that wording.

“Declaring an invasion under the U.S. Constitution is an incendiary and divisive idea that will certainly lead to unnecessary litigation and will encourage dangerous anti-immigrant sentiments,” lawmakers continued in their letter. “Put simply, this type of reckless stunt will only continue to put Latino communities at risk of greater violence.”

The Hill also reports that Abbott’s actions are again pissing off Mexican officials, who said in a statement that “implementation of migratory laws, border control and the negotiation of international agreements are exclusive authorities of the federal government.” Abbott already faced ire from the Mexican government during his short-lived, massively expensive flop of a stunt forcing commercial vehicles to undergo redundant checks that actually didn’t do much of any checking. Facing international blowback and massive financial losses, Abbott quickly ended the disastrous policy.

Abbott has continued his busing stunt using migrants as human props, expanding his scheme to Pennsylvania. Among those he sent to Philadelphia was a 10-year-old girl who reportedly arrived so sick with fever and dehydration that she had to be immediately hospitalized. But Greg Abbott doesn’t care.

“The Governor of Texas is taking a white nationalist conspiracy theory that has inspired multiple domestic terrorist attacks and making it official state policy by declaring migrants to be a literal invading force,” said Zachary Mueller, Political Director at America’s Voice. “In 2019, a Texas man murdered 23 people in El Paso, Texas, in an act of domestic terrorism, which he believed would stop the ‘Hispanic invasion.’ After three years and another terrorist attack in Buffalo, New York, inspired by ‘invasion’ paranoia, Gov. Abbott is fully embracing this deadly racist lie and giving it a governmental imprimatur.”


Greg Abbott signals to violent white supremacist extremists in latest anti-immigrant order

Republicans are refusing to stop using racist mass killers' 'invasion' rhetoric

Sick child bused by Greg Abbott needed hospitalization after arriving in Philadelphia, reports say

No reason given for CBP commissioner’s resignation, but internal hostilities may have played role

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Chris Magnus resigned this past weekend, days after he had apparently been asked by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to step down but refused to do so. On Saturday, Magnus said he would be leaving, various news outlets reported.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden had accepted the resignation “and appreciates Commissioner Magnus’ nearly forty years of service and the contributions he made to police reform during his tenure as police chief in three U.S. cities.”  

RELATED STORY: Following push from advocates, CBP to disband cover-up units that shielded abusive border agents

Magnus, a former Tucson police chief and the agency’s first openly gay commissioner, served just under a year and had been confirmed in a nearly party line vote. While no reason was given for the resignation, speculation that Magnus may have been pushed out by internal hostility wouldn’t be totally out of the question.

The Border Patrol’s union made its first ever endorsement in 2016 for the insurrectionist president, and endorsed him again in 2020. The union’s president, Brandon Judd, is an active border agent who has promoted racist “great replacement” conspiracy theory, and is a fervent GOP operative, appearing in numerous campaign ads for Republicans. People within the government have also been leaking stuff to right-wing rags like Breitbart from the start of the administration.

“On Twitter, [Magnus] has been vocal on about immigration issues, writing that Title 42, a measure instituted during the Trump administration that allows border agents to quickly turn back migrants, ‘comes at a heavy cost to many asylum seekers,’” The Los Angeles Times reported. “After criticism about offensive humor within the ranks, including Facebook posts that made fun of dead migrants and lawmakers, Magnus has clamped down on social media activity.”

Following a push from immigrant and human rights advocates, Magnus also signed the May 2022 memo eliminating the corrupt units that have for years colluded to cover up horrific abuses committed by Border Patrol agents. Following a surge of deaths related to vehicle pursuits by border agents, Magnus also said updated policy would be released, but nothing has been made public so far. CBP this past summer also completed its probe into the abuses of Haitian migrants at Del Rio, but many were outraged after the report revealed that not one single victim was interviewed by investigators.

@CBPChrisMagnus and I may not see eye-to-eye on everything, but I know this: he is one of few actually attempting to reform #BorderPatrol,” tweeted Alliance San Diego Executive Director Andrea Guerrero following initial reports that he’d been asked to leave. “Calls for his resignation from the @AliMayorkas and @POTUS to protect BP is deeply concerning.” Jenn Budd, a former senior Border Patrol agent turned whistleblower, tweeted that “[w]atching @SecMayorkas get railroaded by @BPUnion is frightening. Magnus was the only official trying to bring accountability.”

In a tweet, the Border Patrol union said Magnus “deserved to be fired. As a crisis rages at our border he focused on imaginary BP ‘culture’ problems instead of enforcing our laws.” Ah, so abusive agents who want to starve brown babies (remember that?), who mock the deaths of migrant children in U.S. custody, and who share Stephen Miller’s world views are an “imaginary” problem. Got that, folks? 

Republicans had already made it clear that Mayorkas is at the top of the list of Biden administration officials they’ve targeted should they take control of the U.S. House, which continues to hang in the air following the 2022 midterms. These Republicans repeatedly cite people arriving at the southern border in search of safety. But what they never cite is how the anti-asylum Title 42 has actually created a rise in apprehensions.


Advocates say Del Rio probe 'was not about truth or justice' after Haitians erased from report

CBP to issue new vehicle pursuit policy, after 22 killed in 2021 due to Border Patrol's chases

President Biden announces nominations for key positions at Homeland Security

Jordan is pushing for Mayorkas impeachment based on ridiculous lie that ‘we no longer have a border’

Some of the worst of the worst of House Republicans are endorsing the impeachment of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) secretary should they take the chamber this November, CNN reports.

It needs to be stated first and foremost that these Republicans haven’t laid out any legitimate claims to justify the removal of Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, because there are none. Yet Jim Jordan has falsely claimed that he should be impeached by the chamber “because we no longer have a border.” That’s news to all of us. Jordan could possibly chair the committee that would be tasked with impeachment proceedings should the GOP take the House.

CNN reports that while Jordan and fellow extremists say impeachment should go forward, “Kevin McCarthy supposedly hasn’t really taken a side yet.” His allies claim, at least right now, that there’s “little appetite” for the idea. But that’s a ridiculous thought. McCarthy has already gone in with the extremists, and he’s made it clear extremism controls the agenda.

CNN reports that “Democrats argue the talk is politically motivated,” but that’s exactly what it is. While the insurrectionist president was legitimately impeached (twice) for abuse of power, obstruction of Congress, and inciting a deadly insurrection, the CNN report itself plainly states the political nature of the push. Some Republicans “believe they’ll have an easier time convincing McCarthy and their GOP colleagues to go along with impeaching a Biden political appointee versus a President who was elected to his position, a more politically tenable move that still would throw red meat to the base,” the report said.

So, Mayorkas appears to be the likeliest target. While the GOP bill targeting him has just 31 signatures from the 200 plus Republican caucus, it’s the most out of the other impeachment bills they’ve pushed, CNN said. Plus, targeting him falls in line with their sloppy campaign lying about immigrants rather than talking about their extremist anti-abortion agenda. 

Any impeachment in the House requires conviction in the Senate for full removal, but in that chamber, just two senators are supportive of the idea—and it’s two of the ones you’d expect. The Texas Tribune reports that Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham wrote a letter that claimed the number of apprehensions at the border were “grounds for impeachment.”

But if they really believe that (and they don’t), both Cruz and Graham would’ve sent that letter to Chad Wolf, who was the unlawfully appointed acting DHS secretary under the insurrectionist president. On Wolf’s corrupt watch, the anti-asylum Title 42 policy that was pushed by noted white supremacist Stephen Miller and that used the novel coronavirus as an excuse to quickly deport asylum-seekers in violation of their rights led to increased encounters from April 2020 on, American Immigration Council said

But we didn’t see either Cruz or Graham calling on Wolf to resign after he was found by a nonpartisan government watchdog to have been illegally installed in office, did we? Nor did we see Cruz or Graham call on Wolf to resign when he presided over a blatantly political event that was later deemed illegal by the Office of Special Counsel. It’s almost like they’re just full of it. Shrugs.

Former aides of then-President Donald Trump say GOP lawmakers sought presidential pardons after the attack on the U.S. Capitol during Day 5 of the Jan. 6 committee hearings. https://t.co/BgG7aQdkrG pic.twitter.com/sC0qto0toY

— The Associated Press (@AP) June 23, 2022

“I believe Mayorkas has committed high crimes and misdemeanors,” House Republican Andy Biggs claimed to CNN. “You might see some (impeachment pushes) on Biden, but certainly Mayorkas, what he has done, has just been unconscionable. I’m pushing hard.” Do you think he’ll push as hard as when he suggested to the insurrectionist president’s chief of staff some ways to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 election? Or maybe as hard as when he sought a pardon from the insurrectionist president, according to Jan. 6 testimony. When Republicans scream about lawlessness, it always so much more about their own behavior than anything else.

House Republican touts ‘Dignity Act’ bill claiming to make path to legalization, but don’t be fooled

A South Florida Republican has introduced an immigration bill she’s touting as “The Dignity Act.” Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar claims the legislation will “provide a dignified solution to immigrants currently living in the US.” On its surface, it would appear to make Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar a rarity of sorts, a Republican putting forward a pathway to legalization.

But don’t be fooled. Experts and immigrant rights advocates note that the path to legalization in Salazar’s bill is a “dead end,” thanks to the ridiculous standards it sets—which Republicans will make sure can never be met. Advocates note the bill is, in reality, a re-election ploy for Salazar, who voted against the insurrectionist president’s impeachment.

“We appreciate that some House Republicans support a path to citizenship (which the American public wants), but Rep. Salazar's bill as written is seriously flawed,” noted American Immigration Council policy counsel Aaron Reichlin-Melnick. “For example, the path to citizenship is a dead end thanks to a border security ‘trigger’ that will never be met.”

Roll Call reports that this “trigger” ensures border security “is emphasized first before any other bill measures are implemented,” including that path to legalization. The problem here is that Republicans will never, ever, especially under a Democratic administration, publicly say the border is secure. Remember, the Biden administration has kept some of the previous administration’s worst asylum policies in place, and the GOP is still screaming “open borders.” 

Reichlin-Melnick also notes another provision could likely scare away prospective applicants, rather than encouraging them to step forward to gain relief for themselves and their families. 

“The Salazar bill would make it a federal crime to be undocumented for more than 90 days if you're an adult. As a result, anyone who wanted to apply for the path to citizenship would be risking prison by applying. That's one example of what I meant by ‘seriously flawed.’”

It’s also a dead-end because Kevin McCarthy has said so, previously promising racist rag Breitbart that he’ll kill any immigration legislation should he become speaker. “Unless and until McCarthy and other GOPers stop kissing the nativist ring, the Rep. Salazar bill is dead on arrival and designed for optics, not as a real proposal,” America’s Voice notes

Salazar is also promoting this “Dignity” ploy as Republicans in her state are aiding Gov. Ron DeSantis’ despicable anti-child agenda. In recent weeks, both chambers of the state legislature have advanced hateful bills targeting asylum-seeking children and other migrants.

“In Arizona, Mark Brnovich, the state Attorney General and a candidate for the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, called immigration into the state an ‘invasion’ in a legal opinion he issued this week justifying Arizona’s ability to send troops to the border,” America’s Voice continued. “And national Republican candidates and official party committees continue to run hard on nativist tropes and lies.”

Salazar is pushing her ploy as the House has already passed legislation putting millions of undocumented people onto a path to legalization. The Dream and Promise Act, as well as the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, passed nearly a year ago under Democratic leadership and support from some GOP votes. 

Salazar could just push her party in both chambers to line up behind those bills, but then that would mean a realistic path to legalization. You know, actual “dignity.”

“It’s not that Rep. Salazar is naive about the rest of the Republican Party and their open embrace of nativism,” America’s Voice deputy director Vanessa Cardenas said. “Instead of taking on those forces in her Party, she is in concert with those same forces and enables them by seeking to launder the Republican brand for select diverse districts ahead of the midterms, while seeking to blame Democrats for legislative inaction on immigration reform blocked by Republicans.”

RELATED: GOP-led Florida House committee advances Ron DeSantis' anti-child agenda

RELATED: House passes path to citizenship for DACA recipients, temporary status holders, and farmworkers

Latino lawmakers recall Jan. 6 terror: ‘I’m not white, I’m going to be a target’

California Rep. Jimmy Gomez said the halls of Congress had already been hostile before the previous president incited his white insurrectionist supporters to violently storm the U.S. Capitol to try to overturn the 2020 election one year ago today.

The Oversight and Reform vice-chair told Newsweek that the House was amid a vote on the Build Back Better bill last November when he was verbally accosted in an elevator by an unmasked Republican legislator. "You people are ruining the fucking country,” he said Texas Rep. Roger Williams told him. “Gomez, who is Mexican-American, was taken aback,” Newsweek reported. Williams would later vote to overturn democracy and against the impeachment of the disgraced former president.

“Every member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) inside the building during the attack who spoke with Newsweek thought it would be the last day of their life,” the report said leading into the one-year anniversary of the insurrection. Gomez said that even as he considered ways to look like less of a target to the insurrectionists—such as removing his Congressional pin and jacket—he could not allow himself to just run away. “So he began helping lawmakers who were older and couldn't move as quickly as he could,” the report continued.

California’s Nanette Baragán told Newsweek that she had similar intuition to hide her pin. But other things could not be so easily hidden.

"The part that is not often spoken of is the fear members of Congress of color had," she said in the report. "When you're a person of color and a member of Congress, the thought on that day was ‘hide your pin, I'm not white, I'm going to be a target.’ That was something that was really real."

It wasn’t just members of the Hispanic Caucus, either. “One year after Jan. 6, Sarah Groh, Representative Ayanna Pressley’s chief of staff, still does not know what happened to the panic buttons torn from their office,” Boston Globe’s Jazmine Ulloa tweeted earlier this week. “It’s one of many details still under investigation, and a memory that continues to haunt her.”

Ulloa writes in her piece that the U.S. Capitol is also a workplace for janitors and food service workers. Some of these workers, notably Black janitors, had to clean up the mess created by white insurrectionists.

For Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar, the insurrection brought back terrible memories of the white supremacist mass shooting that shook El Paso in 2019. In tweets immediately after the insurrection, she wrote that the terrorists “not only breached the Capitol and got into Statuary Hall, but they were banging on the locked doors of the House Chamber as we were told by Capitol Police to get down on our knees.” 

In his House testimony last July, U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell recalled how he also had his life threatened by racist insurrectionists.

“I was at the front line and apparently, even through my mask, they saw my skin color and said, ‘You’re not even an American,’” the Latino U.S. military veteran told legislators. Naturalized as an American citizen more than two decades ago, Gonell said insurrectionists “called me traitor, a disgrace and that I, an Army veteran and a police officer, should be executed.”

"This wasn't a group of tourists. This was an armed insurrection,” President Biden said during stirring remarks on Thursday. “They weren't looking to uphold an election. They were here to overturn one."

In a statement Thursday, Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego said that “if we want to keep our democracy intact, then we must bring to justice those responsible for Jan. 6th, including everyone from those who laid siege to the building to those who sat idle in the White House or in Congress as their plans came to fruition. He urged the passage of pro-democracy legislation including the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. “To do so is not a partisan or political issue—it is the bare minimum we must do if we want to keep our democracy.”