Texas AG Ken Paxton skirts the law—again

Mere months after taking office in 2015, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton surrendered to authorities on three felony counts related to securities fraud. But after getting his mugshot taken and posting a $35,000 bond, Paxton spent the next nine or so years making sure that the law was a bludgeon to be used against other people. People who are not rich, white, politically empowered Republican men.

On Tuesday, weeks before that 2015 case was finally set to go to trial, the special prosecutors handling Paxton’s case announced a very special deal. Rather than facing a pair of first-degree felonies, each of which could have brought a minimum sentence of five years, and a third-degree felony that might have added at least two more, Paxton will face … zero years. Also zero months, zero days, and zero charges.

Instead, Paxton will agree to pay back the money he allegedly defrauded, attend a class on “legal ethics,” and do 100 hours of community service. He doesn’t have to pay a fine to the state. He doesn’t even have to plead guilty. Instead, all charges are dropped and Paxton can carry on with the vital work of threatening hospitals and protecting Texas’ right to drown children with razor wire.

Paxton’s get-out-of-felony-free deal comes six months after the state Senate acquitted him in an impeachment trial where he was clearly guilty. Paxton was overwhelmingly impeached in the Texas House in May 2023, on charges that included bribery, obstruction of justice, dereliction of duty, and misappropriation of public resources. In the middle of those charges was a scheme in which a wealthy donor reportedly provided a job to Paxton’s mistress and seven members of Paxton’s staff resigned.

But immediately following his impeachment, Donald Trump pressured Texas state senators to show their loyalty by acquitting Paxton, and in behind-the-scenes negotiations, none were willing to stand up and provide the critical vote that would have impeached the Texas AG.

Paxton was also allowed to skate by the state bar association, which said it couldn’t discipline Paxton for supporting false claims of election fraud. An almost four-year-old FBI investigation that began in relation to charges leveled by some of those who resigned from Paxton’s office has yet to result in any charges.

While benefiting from the immunity of the wealthy and politically connected, Paxton has continued to use the law as a club against those who aren’t so lucky. That includes his infamous war against Kate Cox, who sought to end a nonviable pregnancy that threatened her health and potentially her life. Cox was ultimately forced to leave the state to seek relief after Paxon appealed a district court decision that would have allowed her to obtain a medical abortion.

Paxton has also been on the forefront of claims about an immigrant invasion. That includes issuing a reply to a Supreme Court ruling in January, claiming that it “allows Biden to continue his illegal effort to aid the foreign invasion of America,” and seeking to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which can protect from deportation children who were brought into the country illegally. Paxton not only sued the federal government for cutting through barriers of razor wire, he also refused to consider removing that wire after a woman and two children drowned.

Like a lot of Republicans, Paxton seems to have a very strict view of the law when it is being used against someone else, and an absolute disdain for it when it’s turned his way.

But considering how many things he's gotten away with over so many years, Paxton has a right to feel like Texas law is a joke. And he always seems to get the last laugh.

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GOP senators demand impeachment trial as government shutdown looms

With a government shutdown looming, 13 Republican senators, led by Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Texas’ pretend cowboy Sen. Ted Cruz, released a letter they said they sent to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell demanding he make a big stink about holding an impeachment trial for Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Lee even posted a copy of the letter with some vaguely legible signatures to his X (formerly Twitter) account. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to dismiss the bogus bit of political theater.

The Republican-led House was able to impeach Mayorkas after one embarrassing failure of an attempt, making it the first time a Cabinet official has been impeached in 150 years. The Senate GOP members making hay out of the impeachment process continue to remind the public how Democratic officials proved (and Republican officials admitted) the entire exercise was disingenuous.

The letter, which was signed by Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Eric Schmitt, Rick Scott, Ron Johnson, J.D. Vance, Roger Marshall, Josh Hawley, Mike Braun, Tommy Tuberville, Ted Budd, Cynthia Lummis, and Marsha Blackburn, contains a lot of what we have come to expect from the do-nothing Republican Party. The general pantomime of the GOP around the impeachment of Mayorkas involves an imaginary belief that the GOP is strong on border security. It is fitting that conservative senators like Lee, who voted against the bipartisan border security deal, would also spend their time trying to create a political theater production of impeachment instead of making the hard compromises and decisions needed to get things done.

Senators like Cruz have used their party’s disarray to take shots at current leaders like McConnell. On Sunday, Cruz told Fox News that “if Republican leadership in the Senate doesn’t like the criticism, here’s an opportunity to demonstrate some backbone.” Cruz and Lee are joined by self-promoters like Sen. Josh Hawley, who has had his own public spats with Republican leadership in recent months.

The government is set to shut down on March 1. House Republicans seem unable to chew gum and … chew gum. Senate Republicans who spent many decades in lockstep with McConnell’s leadership seem to have lost the ability to tie their shoes. The Senate is coming off of an 11-day recess. McConnell has not responded to inquiries from media outlets for his response to the letter as of the writing of this story.

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Ohhhhh yeah! Democrats kicked ass and then some in Tuesday's special election in New York, so of course we're talking all about it on this week's episode of "The Downballot." Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard explain how Tom Suozzi's win affects the math for Democrats' plan to take back the House, then dive into the seemingly bottomless list of excuses Republicans have been making to handwave their defeat away. The bottom line: Suozzi effectively neutralized attacks on immigration—and abortion is still a huge loser for the GOP.

Marjorie Taylor Greene asks if Republicans are ‘being bribed’ to oppose impeachment

Marjorie Taylor Greene gave a doozy of an interview with right-wing podcast host Charlie Kirk on Wednesday to commiserate about House Republicans’ failed impeachment vote Tuesday of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. 

Greene has been big mad about the failed vote and, like many of her pro-impeachment colleagues, is looking for someone—anyone—to blame, including Democrats for trying “to throw us off on the numbers.” 

But Greene has plenty of disdain for the Republicans who voted against the bill too. When Kirk asked why Ken Buck of Colorado, Tom McClintock of California, and Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin voted against impeachment, Greene seemed flabbergasted—but didn’t rule out the possibility that “they’re being bribed.”

Kirk fed the Georgia congresswoman the utterly baseless idea, asking, “Do you think these people are being blackmailed by the intel agencies? They might have had relations with certain  people and pictures and compromised. Do you think that they're currently being blackmailed?”

And Greene took the bait.

You know, I have no proof of that, but again, I can't understand the vote. So, nothing surprises me in Washington, D.C. anymore, Charlie. Literally, nothing surprises me because—it doesn't make sense to anyone, right? Why would anyone vote no? Why would anyone protect Mayorkas unless they're being bribed, unless there's something going on, unless they're making a deal. You know, because you can't understand it. It makes no sense. And it's completely wrong to vote no on impeachment.

Greene also speculated that Buck, who is retiring, is “trying to get a job working for CNN like Adam Kinzinger.” She insisted that McClintock is clearly not a real “constitutionalist.” And after listing off all of Gallagher’s military intelligence and military bonafides, she concluded, “I can't understand why he made that vote. But he did.” 

Greene might not understand it, but that doesn’t mean these Republican congressmen haven’t been clear and open about their reasons for voting against the impeachment stunt. 

Gallagher explained his opposition in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, titled “Why I Voted Against the Alejandro Mayorkas Impeachment.” 

“Creating a new, lower standard for impeachment, one without any clear limiting principle, wouldn’t secure the border or hold Mr. Biden accountable,” he wrote. “It would only pry open the Pandora’s box of perpetual impeachment.”

McClintock also explained his opposition in a speech on the House floor before Tuesday’s vote.

“Cabinet secretaries can't serve two masters. They can be impeached for committing a crime related to their office but not for carrying out presidential policy,” he said. “I'm afraid that stunts like this don't help."

On Wednesday, McClintock appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” to again defend his vote, and responded to Greene saying McClintock needs to “read the room.

“I suggest she read the Constitution that she took an oath to support and defend,” he said. “That Constitution very clearly lays out the grounds for impeachment,” he said. “This dumbs down those grounds dramatically and would set a precedent that could be turned against the conservatives on the Supreme Court or a future Republican administration the moment the Democrats take control of the Congress.”

Nevertheless, Greene “can’t understand” why her Republican colleagues weren’t on board with her impeachment aspirations. It must be a conspiracy.  

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Congressman shreds Trump’s worst ‘ideas’ for border security

The House Homeland Security Committee convened on Tuesday to discuss and vote on two Republican-led articles of impeachment against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The Democratic members of the committee decided to take a two-pronged approach to managing today’s proceedings.

First, they pointed out how overtly political this impeachment process has been, and second, Democrats stressed how Republicans spend most of their time and energy complaining about border security while fighting tooth and nail to stop anything from actually being done about border security. That obstructionism includes trying to impeach Mayorkas.

Democratic Rep. Robert Garcia of California used his time to detail how “Donald Trump and House Republicans also have their own ideas for the border” and went on to helpfully list these actual proposed solutions. 

So let's review the majority’s border ideas, that they've actually presented. Here they are:

Donald Trump actually has said that he wants to build alligator moats along the border. That's one of his incredible ideas. 

Another idea that Donald Trump has promoted is he actually wants to electrify the border fence, and maybe even put some spikes on the border. That's another Donald Trump and MAGA-majority border idea. 

Another idea, which I'm not sure how well it would go, is he wants to actually bomb northern Mexico with missiles. That's another Trump idea.

And finally, I think one of the ones that I think is the most grotesque, is suggestions that instead we should maybe just shoot migrants in the legs as they cross the border. So once again, the Donald Trump and MAGA plan is alligator moats, bombing northern Mexico, shooting migrants in the legs, and electrifying the fence, and putting spikes on them. That is the Donald Trump border plan. 

And so again, we are here today with these horrific ideas being presented constantly by the former president. This is all about trying to get Donald Trump reelected. Donald Trump himself is saying he wants no solutions this year out of the Congress. And Secretary Mayorkas and President Biden continue to offer solutions every day and are ready to actually talk about real immigration and border solutions in this country.

The Republican Party has admitted too many times that these committee hearings and impeachment pushes are entirely political maneuvers, fueled by petty revenge and attempted power grabs. These partisan performances have nothing to do with the checks and balances in our Constitution.

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It is primary season, and Donald Trump seems pretty low energy these days. Kerry and Markos talk about the chances of Trump stumbling through the election season and the need to press our advantage and make gains in the House and Senate. Meanwhile, the right-wing media world is losing its collective minds about Taylor Swift registering younger Americans to vote!

Senate inches closer to border deal. Will House GOP and Trump kill it?

Senate negotiators made some progress in talks over the holiday break on a potential border and immigration deal, which was the Senate Republicans’ requirement for agreeing to a vote on President Joe Biden’s Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan supplemental funding package. Over the weekend, the lead Republican in the talks, Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, said text could be released soon. The fate of that agreement, however, lies in the hands of his fellow Republicans and their fealty to their de facto leader, Donald Trump.

“Text hopefully this week, to be able to get that out,” he told Fox News on Sunday. “This agreement has to work. Everyone’s counting on this actually working.” Senate leaders were cautiously positive on Monday. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a floor statement that “it’s been a very promising few days. We have made more progress in the past couple of days on the border than we have in the past few weeks.”

“I was encouraged to see that Senator Lankford and our Democratic colleagues made progress toward an agreement to put meaningful border security policy at the heart of this supplemental,” said Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. “Russia is openly mocking the fickleness of Western support for Ukraine,” he intoned with a shocking lack of irony, since it’s entirely congressional Republicans’ fault that U.S. support to Ukraine is endangered. "The Senate cannot afford to get this wrong," McConnell declared.

As Monday wore on, Lankford tempered his optimism and his revised deadline for delivering text to next week, with a Republican conference on the negotiations hastily scheduled for Wednesday to brief skeptical conservatives, showing the cracks that could make Senate Republicans get this very wrong.

Ukraine aid needs at least 10 Republican senators to support it, and they are skeptical at best right now, both on Ukraine and on the immigration deal Lankford is trying to secure. Last month, Republican senators voted unanimously to keep Ukraine aid from moving to a floor vote over the border issue, and now there is a contingent of Republicans who seem intent on torpedoing Lankford’s efforts.

One of them is McConnell’s previous number two, Sen. John Cornyn, who is taking a hard line in the talks on the president’s authority to provide immigration parole to people who have financial sponsors coming from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Haiti. These immigrants are not crossing at the southern border; they fly into the country. Cornyn and others want to severely restrict, if not end, Biden’s humanitarian parole authority. “We can’t fix asylum and then just have them release people on parole,” Cornyn told The Washington Post. “That would be a disaster politically, and otherwise.”

Other Republican senators like MAGA star J.D. Vance of Ohio are egging the House extremists on in their threats to shut the government down over immigration. “I think that we have a real fiscal crisis in our country, but I think the most significant crisis we have is what is going on at the southern border,” Vance told the Post. “And I encourage my Republican friends in the House to use all the negotiating leverage they can to solve this problem politically.” Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas will reportedly try to force a “no confidence” vote on Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in support of the House’s impeachment effort, which won’t advance in the Democratic Senate.

It seems like the most fervent Republican backer of Ukraine, McConnell, is following rather than leading his fellow Republicans at this point, going along with the demands from his hardliners on immigration. That’s a problem for the future of Ukraine, particularly with House Speaker Mike Johnson taking hard line on talks, insisting that the extreme House immigration bill passed last year is a “necessary ingredient” for the deal. He also moved forward with Mayorkas’ impeachment, despite the lack of cause.

When it comes to immigration, Johnson is catering to the Freedom Caucus. That group hasn’t backed off last week’s government shutdown threats over immigration, and are now even more adamant after Johnson’s agreement for a government funding deal with Schumer.

Hanging over all of this is Trump: Republican lawmakers’ fealty to him; his increasingly bombastic, Hitleresque immigration rhetoric; and his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin. He would likely end all support to Ukraine and hand the country over to Russia if he got back into office.

The specter of Trump hangs over Congress and over Ukraine. There need to be enough Republicans willing to buck Trump for the bleak outlook for Ukraine aid—and thus Ukraine’s future—to improve.


House GOP kicks off a new year of dysfunction with another impeachment

Senate Republicans hand Putin a propaganda victory

Senate Republicans do Trump's bidding on Ukraine, immigration

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House GOP kicks off a new year of dysfunction with another impeachment

Trust the Republican House to make a difficult situation exponentially worse. Not content with establishing a new record of dysfunction and ineffectiveness in the first session of the 118th Congress, they’re kicking off the second year with another waste of precious time: a second baseless impeachment, this time against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. It’s basically the first thing on their agenda when they return to work next week, with the first hearing scheduled for Jan. 10.

Never mind that the first deadline for a partial government shutdown is Jan. 19, and the House has made zero progress in meeting it. Instead, Republican leadership has chosen to start impeachment proceedings against Mayorkas for his “decision-making and refusal to enforce the laws passed by Congress, and that his failure to fulfill his oath of office demands accountability,” according to Homeland Security Committee Chair Mark Green of Tennessee.

Mayorkas’ team at DHS slapped back. “The House majority is wasting valuable time and taxpayer dollars pursuing a baseless political exercise that has been rejected by members of both parties and already failed on a bipartisan vote,” spokesperson Mia Ehrenberg said in a statement.

The White House was equally scathing. “Actions speak louder than words,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement. “House Republicans’ anti-border security record is defined by attempting to cut Customs and Border Protection personnel, opposing President Biden’s record-breaking border security funding, and refusing to take up the President’s supplemental funding request.”

“After voting in 2023 to eliminate over 2,000 Border Patrol agents and erode our capacity to seize fentanyl earlier in 2023, House Republicans left Washington in mid-December even as President Biden and Republicans and Democrats in the Senate remained to forge ahead on a bipartisan agreement,” Bates said.

That Senate effort—which aims to find a compromise on immigration that will get enough Republican votes to allow aid to Ukraine to continue—is ongoing, though its success is far from certain since the House GOP is working to poison it. Senate Republicans will point to the House GOP’s opposition to justify their refusal to support any agreement. To that end, House Speaker Mike Johnson is spearheading another stunt, leading a delegation of about 60 Republican House members to visit a border facility near Eagle Pass, Texas, on Wednesday.

Johnson’s trip is fueling the hard-line stance on immigration, but he’s also painting himself into a corner with the House extremists. Catering to the hard right on immigration is extremely unlikely to help him avert a government shutdown—since a government shutdown is what the Freedom Caucus wants.

Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, a prominent member of the caucus, made that clear enough in a letter Tuesday, writing that he was skipping this trip to the border because it is not enough. "Our people—law enforcement, ranchers, local leaders—are tired of meetings, speeches, and press conferences,” he said, adding that the House should be “withholding funding for the vast majority of the federal government until it performs its basic duty to defend the borders of a supposedly sovereign nation."

The more Johnson bends to extremists on immigration, the more emboldened they will be to force a shutdown over the issue. He’s setting himself up for failure, for the very same trap that every Republican speaker since John Boehner has fallen into. Either Johnson bucks the Freedom Caucus and risks being ousted like former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, or he allows a disastrous shutdown.

Meanwhile, there’s reality: In the past week, illegal border crossings have decreased. But reality isn’t likely to make any difference to Republicans; it rarely does.


Speaker Mike Johnson faces same old GOP dysfunction in the new year

It's official: GOP House did a whole lot of nothing this year

White House engages on Ukraine/immigration stalemate

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Feds Catch More Than 460 Known, Suspected Terrorists In Nine Months, Most At Northern Border

By Bethany Blankley (The Center Square)

There have been hundreds of known or suspected terrorists apprehended at the northern and southern borders in the current fiscal year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.

As foreign nationals illegally enter the U.S. and are apprehended, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations agents screen them against a federal Terrorist Screening Dataset, which includes sensitive information about terrorist identities. It originated as a consolidated terrorist watch list “to house information on known or suspected terrorists, or KSTs, but has evolved over the last decade to include additional individuals who represent a potential threat to the United States, including known affiliates of watch-listed individuals,” CBP states.

As of June 15, OFO agents apprehended 53 KSTs at southwest border ports of entry and 284 at northern border ports of entry, totaling 337. CBP’s fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

They also apprehended 125 KSTs between ports of entry at the southern border and two between ports of entry at the northern border, totaling 127 KSTs fiscal year to date. 

Combined, they’ve apprehended 464 known or suspected terrorists.

That’s nearly a 30% increase in one month after previous increases were roughly 87%.

Related: Illegal Border Crossers So Far This Year Outnumber The Population Of 8 States

Roughly one month ago, The Center Square reported OFO agents apprehended 332 KSTs at both borders. They apprehended 125 at the southern border (45 KSTs at ports of entry and 80 between ports of entry) and 207 at the northern border (205 at ports of entry and two between ports of entry).

These numbers were up from 284 KSTs apprehended by March, which was significantly up from 38 apprehended by January, an 87% increase in just two months.

By comparison, in fiscal 2022, 478 KSTs were apprehended in fiscal 2022. Agents apprehended 165 at the southern border (67 at ports of entry and 98 between ports of entry) and 313 at northern border ports of entry. 

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas maintains that the border is closed and secure. He’s refused to resign despite growing calls for him to do so. Multiple attorneys general and members of Congress have called for his impeachment.

While border security experts acknowledge the commendable work of OFO agents in apprehending known or suspected terrorists, they also express concern about how many have illegally entered the U.S. unabated. 

Related: Border Patrol To Release Foreign Nationals En Masse Into Communities As Title 42 Ends

Last month, former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Trump administration Tom Homan warned, “What’s happening is the greatest national security threat since 9/11. Border Patrol has arrested people from 171 countries. Many of these countries are sponsors of terrorism.”

He also pointed to the record number of gotaways, those who’ve illegally entered the U.S. and evaded capture by law enforcement, totaling over 1.7 million reported by Border Patrol agents since the president’s been in office – that number’s since gone up.

“If you don’t think a single one of the 1.7 million is coming from a country that sponsors terrorism, then you’re ignoring the data,” Homan said. “That’s what makes this a huge national security issue.”

While many have focused on the southern border, a congressional Northern Border Security Caucus was formed in March to call for additional security along there. It’s mainly left unmanned when comparing the amount of personnel to square mileage.

The U.S. northern border is the longest international border in the world, spanning 5,525 miles. Fourteen states share the U.S.-Canada border; 13 to Canada’s south and Alaska to its west.

By comparison, four states share 1,954 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, with Texas sharing the most of 1,254 miles.

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

The post Feds Catch More Than 460 Known, Suspected Terrorists In Nine Months, Most At Northern Border appeared first on The Political Insider.

Where Did All the Biden Illegal Immigrants Go? Sanctuary Cities Like New York Are Only Part of the Answer

By James Varney for RealClearInvestigations

In New York City, if the newcomers aren’t put up at the luxury cruise terminal that served the QE2, they could get $700-a-night midtown hotel accommodations with iconic Manhattan viewsIn Chicago, they found themselves whisked to suburban lodgings. In Denver, officials refer to them discreetly as “guests” and you needn’t bother inquiring about their inns or addresses.  

The people enjoying these free digs aren’t privacy-conscious jet-setters, but the secrecy surrounding them might be comparable: They’re some of the millions of migrants who have illegally crossed into the U.S. since the Biden administration relaxed most border controls.

RELATED: Nearly 270,000 Apprehensions, Gotaways at Southern Border in March

No one knows exactly how many people have poured across the southwestern U.S. border since President Biden took office, or where they’ve gone since. The official number of encounters by Customs and Border Patrol stands at 5.2 million people, logged over the last two full federal fiscal years and fiscal 2023 through March. But that number is imprecise because it includes repeat encounters with the same people and omits the many who slipped into the country unnoticed by border agents.  

Under President Biden, the U.S. smashed past the 200,000 monthly encounters mark for the first time in July 2021 and it has repeatedly topped that record in the months since. By comparison, in fiscal 2020, which ended a month before Biden’s defeat of President Trump, the U.S. averaged 38,174 monthly encounters at the border, according to CBP figures.  

Earlier: Why Hasn’t the GOP Impeached Mayorkas Yet? 

Because of an official lack of transparency, all those people and the circumstances by which they have arrived and remained have made it hard to take stock of the historic influx. Through midnight flights and buses from the border to far-flung locales, the administration has made it difficult to identify where the migrants are now living and receiving services. Also unclear are the costs associated with the arrivals.  

But flares have been sent up – especially over immigrant sanctuary cities like New York, Denver and Chicago, which have long promised to house migrants. While those cities are providing housing and other services for a small fraction of the recent migrants, the costs are significant for these budget-strapped metropolises.

Denver plans to spend $20 million in the first six months of this year to provide housing to migrants. Officials say this works out to between $800 and $1,000 per week per person.   

In January the state of Illinois turned down Chicago’s request for more funds, saying it had already spent close to $120 million on its “asylum seeker emergency response” – or roughly $33,000 per migrant.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has asked for more than $500 million in federal aid, while pegging the city’s spending at between $2 billion and $3 billion.     

Other data points of the opaque costs of Biden-era illegal immigration include Massachusetts’ estimate that it will need $28 million to launch a program to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented residents. The state is seeking a share of the omnibus spending bill passed by Democrats in December 2022 when they controlled both houses of Congress, which included $800 million for cities grappling with the influx.  

RELATED: Biden to Open Up Medicaid, Obamacare to About 700,000 Illegal Immigrants

These numbers are incomplete in part because it is hard to separate the added cost of recent migrants from costs for the millions of undocumented immigrants who were in the country before the recent surge.  

A March study by the conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates that, after accounting for taxes paid by undocumented migrants, they cost taxpayers over $150 billion per year – a 30% increase since 2017.  

Yet FAIR acknowledges the problem of fixing costs has become more difficult, given the record-breaking numbers of illegal crossers in the past two and a half years and efforts by some government agencies to mask their spending.  

“We often had to grapple with a paucity of easily accessible official data,” the report notes. “Many state and federal entities do not publish detailed data that they collect, making it difficult to reliably separate illegal aliens from citizens of lawful immigrants. We have also encountered cases where the current administration has revoked or restricted documents published by previous administrations in order to reduce the visibility of data which shines a negative light on their immigration policy agenda.”

Those totals also involve far more than simple food and board. To arrive at its staggering sum, FAIR includes estimates of the costs in education, health care and law enforcement.  

“The irony is not only are these sanctuary jurisdictions turning to Washington with their hands out, but that they still refuse to join with governors like Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis in demanding that the federal government take decisive steps to stanch the influx of new migrants,” FAIR spokesman Ira Mehlman told RealClearInvestigations, referring to the Republican chief executives of Texas and Florida, respectively. “The obvious hypocrisy of declaring yourself a sanctuary jurisdiction while complaining about the costs and burdens associated with it are undeniable.”

Groups that favor more relaxed border security measures, such as the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights and the American Immigration Council, did not respond to RCI’s request for comment; the liberal Brookings Institution declined to comment. 

RELATED: Illegal Immigration is Surging… Across the Northern Border, Now

Cities housing many migrants have a hard time estimating costs. New York Mayor Adams has asked for more than $500 million in federal aid, while pegging the city’s spending one time at $2 billion and another time at $3 billion. Those are the sorts of bills New York has racked up putting what they call “asylum seekers” or “migrants” in hotels.

And Adams, whose requests sometimes include the claim “we are all in this together,” wants to spend even more. This month, he floated the idea of paying college tuition for illegal immigrants if they attend New York state schools outside the city.

Using Adams’ own number of some 40,000 illegal immigrants that New York City has foot the bills for, it means taxpayers are spending roughly $150,000 per person to host new arrivals. In March, City Hall scaled back its count of the number of its immigrants to 12,700, which meant the taxpayers’ were spending nearly $5 million a day to take care of them, according to a New York Post analysis.  

The Office of the New York City Public Advocate, which helps immigrants navigate the benefits available to them, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Adams declined to address questions about spending, pointing instead to various links the city maintains for immigrants and noting the city has expanded a New York County Supreme Court decision in 1981 regarding shelter for homeless people to cover immigrants.   

Whatever the current official number of illegal immigrants New York is dealing with it is but a fraction of those that have poured into various Texas communities along the border.   

Officials at El Paso’s City Hall, one of the ground zeroes in the illegal immigration crush, did not respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment on its spending. But Gov. Abbott said his Operation Lone Star, launched in March 2021, has “allocated more than $4 billion to do the federal government’s job and secure the border,” Abbott’s spokesman Andrew Mahaleris said.   

It was Abbott who began busing illegal immigrants to some of the sanctuary cities that declare themselves so welcoming, such as New York, Denver and Chicago.

RELATED: Cruz to Mayorkas: ‘If You Had Integrity, You Would Resign’

“Texas began busing migrants to sanctuary cities last April to provide relief to our overrun and overwhelmed border communities,” Mahaleris said. “Mayors Adams, [Muriel] Bowser and [Lori] Lightfoot were all too happy to tout their sanctuary city statuses until Texas bused over 16,900 migrants, collectively, to their self-declared sanctuary. Instead of complaining about dealing with a fraction of the border crisis Texas communities see every day, these hypocrites should call on President Biden to take immediate action to secure the border – something the president continues failing to do.”  

Lightfoot, departing as mayor of Chicago after her defeat in February, first turned to Illinois for millions to help the Windy City cope with its several thousand illegal immigrants Texas provided. In January, however, the state turned her down, saying it had already spent close to $120 million on its “asylum seeker emergency response.”  

That response came last September when Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an “emergency disaster proclamation.” His proclamation and the words of other state leaders presented a schizophrenic picture in which they portray Illinois as a “welcoming beacon of hope” and complain they weren’t given “official advance warning.”

Most of the money Illinois spent – more than $61.5 million, or roughly $31,000 per immigrant – went to contracts with organizations or staff “who provided on site case management and other services at multiple locations.”  

Illinois dropped another $8 million on “interim housing,” nearly $4 million on “health screenings for asylum seekers, and more than $29 million on “hotel, transportation and housing costs,” according to their breakdown.  

Nowhere did Pritzker or Lightfoot question the wisdom of the Biden administration ‘s border policies, and there was no indication they understood the burdens that had been put on border cities and states. Instead, the unmistakable message was that if illegal immigrants were going to be sent where the “welcoming beacon” shone, other people should pay for it.

RELATED: Rio Grande Border Patrol Agents Assaulted While Apprehending Illegal Aliens

“They can say all that is for free, but now they’re finding out they can’t have a welfare society and an open border,” said Lora Reis, the director of the Border Security and Immigration Center at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Denver held a budget “transparency and equity” meeting earlier this month at which Chief Financial Officer Margaret Danuser said the city will have spent between $17 and $20 million on housing and other services for between 5,000 and 6,000 illegal immigrants between Dec. 2022 and this June. The city hoped to get federal taxpayers to reimburse it for $2.8 million, and a Colorado state fund for another $3.5 million.

Those figures show Denver spent about the same as Chicago at roughly $33,000 per immigrant, costs that are still far below New York City’s. 

“None of these sanctuary mayors or governors have ever asked for a secure border, it was always just, ‘feds, give us money!’” said Reis. “They can say all that for free, but they are finding out you can’t have a welfare system and an open border.”

Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.

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Why Hasn’t the GOP Yet Walked the Walk on Its Mayorkas Impeachment Talk?

By James Varney for RealClearInvestigations

It’s almost an understatement to say that Republican candidates campaigned hawkishly on border control in the runup to the 2022 midterms: As they decried the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs from Mexico, many vowed to impeach the man they largely blamed for the mess, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. 

Republicans have continued hammering Mayorkas since taking control of the House. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, who called the flooding of more than 5 million illegal immigrants across the southern border since President Biden took office an “intentional” policy, has made several visits to the U.S.-Mexico border with other Republicans, and the House has held multiple hearings on immigration. 

RELATED: Mayorkas Supports ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban But Can’t Define ‘Assault Weapons’

But as winter has turned to spring, the GOP has taken little action to remove Mayorkas. Republicans Andy Biggs of Arizona and Pat Fallon of Texas  have each filed bills, but the House Judiciary Committee, from which any impeachment move must come, has not taken up either resolution. 

Conservative groups focused on the southern border told RealClearInvestigations that impeachment did not come up during recent meetings in Washington. 

“I just came from the Hill and a bunch of meetings with staffers and they’re reporting the same thing; one said the conference is split, with a lot of GOP ‘George W. Bush types’ who love the cheap labor for American industry and agriculture,” said Todd Bensman of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies and author of “Overrun: How Joe Biden Unleashed the Greatest Border Crisis in U.S. History.”  

Bensman calls it an “old story,” but cheap labor is only part of it. Republicans aren’t united on this issue because some fear that following through on impeachment talk will alienate the moderate swing voters that the GOP needs to remain in control of the House.

Even Republicans who have publicly attacked Mayorkas are now reticent about discussing impeachment. RCI reached out to 16 GOP House members for comment. Neither Biggs nor Fallon responded. Virginia Rep. Bob Good, a member of the Freedom Caucus who is co-sponsor of both resolutions, declined to comment on the record. Other outspoken administration critics such as Dan Crenshaw of Texas, Tom McClintock of California, and Matt Gaetz of Florida did not respond. 

Only two of the 16 Republican House members agreed to speak on the record.

“I have repeatedly called for his impeachment and am confident that Chairman Jordan will hold true to his word of impeaching Mayorkas for overseeing an unprecedented surge of illegal activity at our southern border,” Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona said.  

RELATED: Cruz to Mayorkas: ‘If You Had Integrity, You Would Resign’

Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania said Biden administration officials have lied about what they have done at the border but was more circumspect on impeachment, suggesting a wait-and-see attitude may be behind the aggressive rhetoric. 

“I’m not on the Judiciary Committee and it would have to come from there,” he said. “My hope is that at least some information will come from hearings because some members legitimately have some questions.” 

Perry and others said they would like to see the Judiciary Committee make the case for impeachment, a process Jordan appears to be favoring. For the moment, however, the only concrete step Republicans have taken is a symbolic gesture by Rep. Chip Roy of Texas to try to cut Mayorkas’ salary from the DHS budget. 

The bills filed by Reps. Biggs and Fallon contend that Mayorkas’s conduct meets the constitutional threshold for impeachment, “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Fallon’s bill, H. Res. 8, alleges that the secretary has violated the oath all cabinet members take to “faithfully uphold” the laws of the United States by failing to enforce: 

  • The Secure the Fence Act of 2006 that requires the DHS secretary to “maintain operational control over the entire international land and maritime borders of the United States.”
  • The Immigration and Nationality Act that requires the DHS secretary to “detain inadmissible aliens arriving in the United States or aliens who are present in the United States without inspection until processed.” Instead, it claims, Mayorkas’ “catch and release” approach has allowed more than “1,000,000 illegal aliens” into the country. 

While referencing those two laws, the Biggs resolution, H. Res. 582, also accuses Mayorkas of violating the Public Health Services Act by failing to protect U.S. citizens from “risk and exposure to and contracting Covid-19 by refusing to take necessary steps to prevent contagious illegal aliens from entering the United States.”  

In sum, the Biggs resolution concludes Mayorkas should be impeached because “his actions have subverted the will of Congress and the core tenets of the Constitution.” 
RCI reached out repeatedly to a dozen Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee seeking comment on a possible impeachment of Mayorkas and their reaction. None of them responded.

RELATED: Mayorkas Falsely Claimed Border is ‘Closed’ Ahead of Biden Trip to El Paso

Mayorkas has stated repeatedly he has no intention of resigning, a suggestion Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas made again Tuesday when Mayorkas appeared at a Senate committee hearing. “If you had any integrity you would resign,” Cruz said.

The volley came after the two got into a verbal spat over how truthful the administration has been about the border. Cruz cited comments by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre that people are “not walking across the border” along with photographs of people doing just that. “You claim you care, Mr. Secretary –– that is a lie,” Cruz said. 

Cruz again accused Mayorkas of dissembling after the DHS chief would not answer a question about whether Jean-Pierre lied. Mayorkas called Cruz’s accusation “revolting.”

Nevertheless, the department is bracing for a possible impeachment and taking steps for Mayorkas’ defense. A government contract was signed with the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton to provide legal assistance to the secretary; that contract would kick in only if the Judiciary Committee moved an impeachment motion to the House floor.

Debevoise & Plimpton did not respond to a request for comment about the arrangement. Biden administration officials familiar with it said it was necessary because the impeachment of a cabinet secretary is so rare none of its legal staff has any relevant experience. 

The terms of the contract were not disclosed, although officials pointed to examples in the past where House Republicans hired outside legal counsel to assist it on legislation that proved legally fraught.

A DHS spokesperson said the contract was necessary to “ensure the Department’s vital mission is not interrupted by the unprecedented, unjustified and partisan impeachment efforts of some members of Congress, who have already taken steps to initiate proceedings.”

History shows the House can move swiftly on impeachment if members choose to. The Democratic majority, along with a handful of Republicans, voted to impeach departing President Trump just one week after the post-election riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.  

RELATED: New U.S. Border Data: 284 Suspected Terrorists Apprehended So Far in Fiscal 2023

Defenders of the government’s current border policies say that the conservatives’ argument is flawed. The Biden administration’s approach is basically a relaxation of the Trump administration’s more stringent strategy. As such, they amount to policy differences between the two major political parties and fall far short of any “crimes and misdemeanors” that would justify impeachment.  

But, as RCI has previously reported, President Biden’s policies have marked a sharp break from his predecessor’s, since Biden’s first day in office, when he signed seven executive orders on immigration that, among other things, suspended deportations. 

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation who co-authored the February report, “The Case for Impeachment of Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas Secretary of Homeland Security,” defended the impeachment argument from liberals who deride it as purely political. 

“It inaccurately and incorrectly asserts that we are confusing the requirements of the Immigration and Naturalization Act with the Trump administration policies,” he said. “Our analysis is based not on disagreeing with the policies implemented by Mayorkas, but with his violation of federal immigration law.” 

“I think we have laid out in our paper what we think the basis is for impeachment,” von Spakovsky told RCI. They include the claims that Mayorkas:  

  • “deliberately defied and contravened the laws he is charged with faithfully executing.” 
  • “repeatedly abused the authority of his office, including by, among other conduct, enticing a flood of aliens to cross the U.S. southern border with his policies and Statements.” 
  • “betrayed the trust of the people by lying to Congress and withholding information and misleading the public in an effort to hide and suppress the nature and consequence of his abominable policies.” 

Von Spakovsky added that “the misguided priorities of Mayorkas have resulted in a huge backlog in the adjudication system that unfairly hurts the many thousands of U.S. citizens and lawful applicants whose immigration matters are delayed many months.” 

RELATED: There Have Already Been 1.6 Million Known Illegal Border Crossings This Fiscal Year

Although von Spakovsky and others argue impeachment is warranted “consistent with U.S. history and constitutional traditions,” it would also be a highly unusual move. Only one cabinet member has ever been impeached, President Ulysses S. Grant’s War Secretary William Belknap in 1876, but he resigned the same day the House voted unanimously against him.  

Attorney General Harry Daugherty in 1922 and Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon in 1932 also faced possible impeachment proceedings by the House, but the former resigned in 1924 and the latter left the cabinet and became U.S. ambassador to England. 

Impeachment supporters also point to the dangers the Biden administration’s porous border have created. In addition to the humanitarian issues of hundreds of thousands of people migrating through Mexico to the U.S., and the money they have paid to Mexican cartels to facilitate their passage, the southern border has become the main conduit for deadly illicit fentanyl.

Scott Perry said his constituents would like to see the Republicans do more than simply talk about the border crisis, though he noted that Mayorkas is the agent who carries out policies set by President Biden. 

“It’s chaos down there with the fentanyl and the cartels making millions of dollars,” he said. 

“Most of our constituents are distraught about that and want it fixed, and many would like accountability for how it occurred. Ultimately, the president is responsible so why not impeach him?” 

But as to what might actually happen with Mayorkas, Perry acknowledged he wasn’t sure. 

“My sense is that with the Judicial Committee holding hearings we are working toward those kind of things,” he said. “That will go to the fact-finding we need to have to convince some of our skeptical members.” 

Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.

The post Why Hasn’t the GOP Yet Walked the Walk on Its Mayorkas Impeachment Talk? appeared first on The Political Insider.

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