A handful of House Republicans are looking to ban Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and his staff from flying on federal executive aircraft or private jets until he presents a plan to Congress for securing the southwestern U.S. border.
The "Mayorkas Must Fly Coach Until We Secure the Border Act" would require Mayorkas to fly on commercial airlines, and reflects the growing frustration with the Biden administration’s handling of the border crisis. A record 2.3 million migrant encounters were logged in fiscal year 2022, up from 1.7 million the year before.
A record-high 251,000 border encounters were seen in December, and while that number fell to about 150,000 in January, Republicans continue to argue that failing to control the border is putting migrant children at risk and allowing fentanyl and other dangerous drugs to enter the U.S. unchecked, along with millions of illegal immigrants.
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"This bill simply recognizes what is already obvious to South Texans and millions of Americans: Secretary Mayorkas’ failure to secure the southern border has hurt the American people and resulted in a humanitarian crisis in communities like mine," said Rep. Monica De La Cruz, R-Texas, the lead sponsor of the bill. "If he refuses to fulfill the most basic functions of his office, he should be stripped of the private flights he currently enjoys, courtesy of American taxpayers, until he does his job."
The legislation is a relatively minor punishment for Mayorkas compared to two other bills proposed by Republicans that would impeach him.
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One of those bills, from Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, says Mayorkas has violated his constitutional oath by failing to maintain operational control over the border, as more than 5.5 million illegal immigrants have crossed into the U.S. under his watch. That resolution, which has 41 cosponsors, says Mayorkas terminated contracts for the remaining construction of the border wall started by President Trump and accuses him of lying to Congress by testifying last year that the U.S. government has operational control of the border.
A second impeachment resolution, from Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., makes similar arguments and notes that Mayorkas has violated the Immigration and Nationality Act by releasing illegal immigrants into the U.S. instead of removing them. "The Secretary of Homeland Security does not have the option of simply releasing those aliens into the interior of the United States," reads that resolution, which has 31 GOP cosponsors.
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Biggs is a cosponsor of De La Cruz’s bill banning Mayorkas from private jets, along with Reps. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., Derrick Van Orden, R-Wis., Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., and Marjorie Taylor Green, R-Ga.
Despite widespread frustration with the Biden administration’s border policies, House Republicans have yet to schedule a vote on any bill aimed at pressuring Mayorkas into doing more to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S.