House Homeland Democrats back Mayorkas, slam GOP ‘sham’ ahead of impeachment hearing

Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee are offering their support for DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas ahead of the committee's first impeachment hearing on Wednesday -- with the lawmakers accusing their Republican colleagues of running a "sham" process.

"What is going on tomorrow is an embarrassment to the impeachment clause of the Constitution," Rep. Dan Goldman, D-NY, told reporters.

The hearing,"Havoc in the Heartland: How Secretary Mayorkas’ Failed Leadership Has Impacted the States," marks the first impeachment hearing after a year of investigations and reports by the House Homeland Security Committee which looked at Mayorkas’ handling of the nearly three-year migrant crisis.

The hearing will see testimony from attorneys general from Montana, Oklahoma and Missouri. The AGs will testify about the impact of the crisis on their states and their belief that Mayorkas is not enforcing the law.

But Democrats on the committee say that Republicans have turned what is a policy dispute into a politically motivated impeachment push.

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"This is simply a policy dispute, a disagreement about how a different party is attacking a policy problem. And the Republicans are trying to abuse their power and the Constitution to convert what is simply a disagreement into somehow, some way, a high crime and misdemeanor," Goldman said. "There is no crime, much less a high crime or misdemeanor here."

Rep. Glenn Ivey, D-Md., described the process as a "political sham with no constitutional basis, no factual basis."

Republicans have claimed that the crisis, which has seen multiple records smashed for migrant encounters, is "unprecedented and intentional."

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"The chaos and devastation at the border and in our communities are the result of Alejandro Mayorkas’ failure to fulfill his oath as secretary of Homeland Security," Chairman Mark Green said this week. "His primary responsibility is to secure the homeland—and he has failed."

Republicans have accused the administration of fueling the crisis with "open border" policies, including expanded catch-and-release and the rolling back of Trump-era policies such as the Remain-in-Mexico policy and border wall construction. They’ve pointed to the record number of migrant encounters as the border that have skyrocketed during the Biden administration, as well as the significant number of releases into the interior.

Democrats and the administration have said that authorities are dealing with a hemisphere-wide crisis and are in need of more funding and comprehensive immigration reform from Congress. 

Both Democrats and Republicans have proposed border and immigration bills that are vastly different from one another, while talks are currently ongoing about $14 billion in supplemental border funding requested by the administration, with Republicans demanding restrictions on releases. 

DHS put out a memo ahead of the hearing arguing that Mayorkas was currently working with a bipartisan group of senators to find real solutions to the challenges at the border and called the accusations "baseless."

"Members of Congress serious about addressing these challenges should oppose this baseless impeachment that is going nowhere and instead work with the Department to keep America safe by properly funding DHS’s vital missions and reforming our broken immigration laws," the memo said, also pointing to statements by a number of Republicans who have said that the alleged offenses have not met the standard for impeachment.

Talking to reporters, Democrats also blamed Republicans for not working with them to solve the issue. Rep. Seth Magaziner, D-R.I., accused Republicans of being "complicit" in the struggles at the border.

"Democrats fully recognize, and the administration I know recognizes that we have real challenges at the border. There are people who are fleeing their home countries due to political instability, due to violence, due to poverty and trying to come to the United States and it has created a chaotic situation," he said. "But House Republicans, rather than work with the administration and work with the secretary to solve the problem instead care more about having a political issue to run on than they do actually solving the challenges that we have at the border."

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Additionally, they praised Mayorkas’ handling of both the crisis and the efforts to find agreement on supplemental spending with lawmakers, and argued that Republiacns haven’t given him the tools with which to do his job.

"I think he's doing a very good job under very tough circumstances," Ivey said. "We haven't really given him the tools to fix it and now they try to beat him up for not being able to perform without the tools."

"Secretary Mayorkas has one of, if not the hardest job in the United States of America. And House Republicans have tried to undercut him and prevent him from being able to do his job every step of the way," Magaziner said. "Deny him the funding. Deny him the tools because they view this as a political game, when really we ought to be working together to solve the challenges at the border."

Mace calls Dem claims on impeachment push ‘complete and total bulls—‘

Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., used fiery language on Thursday to call out Democrats on the House Oversight Committee for their dismissal of Republican criticism of President Biden's conduct related to his family's business dealings, calling their claims "bulls---."

Mace was speaking at the committee's first impeachment inquiry public hearing, where Republicans presented evidence uncovered to date as part of their investigation into the Biden family’s business dealings.

But Democrats downplayed the hearing, saying Republicans had launched "an impeachment drive based on a long-debunked and discredited lie."

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Mace pointed to a 2017 deal with Chinese company CEFC, alleging the deal involved making millions "off of granting access to Joe Biden."

"Hunter even arranged for Joe Biden to share office space with the CCP aligned company CEFC," she said. 

She then countered claims by Democrats that the deal took place when Biden was no longer vice president, and before he began running for president in 2020.

"My Democrat colleagues say none of this is relevant because Joe Biden wasn't vice president while his family did these shady deals," she said. "Turns out that's complete and total bulls---. It's a lie."

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"Hunter Biden referred to access to his father as the keys to his family's only asset. Those words are going to come back and haunt Hunter Biden and his family forever," she said.

Republicans, meanwhile, have said GOP-led investigations have uncovered how the Biden family created over 20 shell companies that raked in more than $20 million between 2014 and 2019 and multiple Biden family members participated in or benefited from the schemes.

"Joe Biden is the brand and Joe Biden showed up at least two dozen times with business targets and associates, sending signals of access, influence and power to those prepared to pay for it," Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., said. "⁠The American people demand accountability for this culture of corruption." 

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Democrats were dismissive, with ranking member Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland saying there was "no evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden."

"If the Republicans had a smoking gun or even a dripping water pistol, they would be presenting it today. But they've got nothing on Joe Biden," he said.

Ex-DHS chief Wolf accuses Biden admin of ‘crisis by design’ at the border, calls for new leadership

FIRST ON FOX: The former acting head of the Department of Homeland Security will today rip into the Biden administration's handling of the ongoing crisis at the southern border, accusing the administration of a "crisis by design" at the border, and calling for new leadership at the Department of Homeland Security

Chad Wolf, who served as acting DHS secretary during the Trump administration and oversaw the implementation of a number of key Trump-era policies, will speak at the House Judiciary Committee’s immigration subcommittee hearing on the ongoing crisis at the border.

The hearing will ask "Is the law being faithfully executed" and Wolf will tell lawmakers that "the answer, by any objective measure or metric is a resounding no."

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"Today’s border security system is unrecognizable from the America First policies of the Trump Administration or even what was in place during the administrations of Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama," Wolf will say in prepared remarks obtained by Fox News Digital. "In all candor, the Biden administration is the first administration of either political party to deliberately take steps to diminish the security along our southern border." 

"Therefore, it is my opinion that new leadership is needed at DHS," Wolf, now the executive director at the America First Policy Institute, will tell the committee.

Wolf joins a chorus of voices on the right who have called for the removal -- and potentially the impeachment -- of Mayorkas, who has come under heavy fire for his handling of the border crisis now deep into its third year.

The border has seen a historic number of migrant encounters at the border since the administration took office. The historic 1.7 million encounters in FY2021 was subsequently dwarfed in FY 2022 when there were more than 2.3 million encounters.

Numbers have hit records in FY 2023, when there were over 250,000 migrant encounters in a single month in December. There was a surge ahead of the end of Title 42 in May, with over 10,000 encounters a day, but numbers have dropped sharply by as much as 70% since the order ended.

The administration has said that a recent drop in encounters since Title 42 ended on May 11, and in some of the months before that, shows that the policies it is implementing are working. Those policies focus on expanding lawful pathways including a controversial use of parole, coupled with shifting to traditional Title 8 penalties for illegal crossings and a new asylum rule which limits claims for those who cross illegally and who have not claimed asylum in other countries through which they traveled.

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"The administration’s plan is working as intended," DHS said in a statement this week. "We are cognizant, however, that the conditions in the hemisphere that are driving unprecedented movements of people are still present and that the cartels and coyotes will continue to spread disinformation about any potential changes to policies at the border in order to put migrants’ lives at risk for profit. We will remain vigilant and continue to execute our plan, making adjustments where needed."

Separately, Mayorkas has repeated the administration's calls for Congress to provide additional funding and to pass legislation to fix what he calls a "broken" immigration system.

But conservative and Republican critics have blamed the longer-term crisis on the administration’s expanded use of "catch-and-release," which had been curtailed sharply during the Trump administration with policies that have since been reversed by the Biden administration. Additionally, critics have pointed to the Biden administration’s reduced interior immigration enforcement, the end of border wall construction, and have questioned the legality of the use of parole in expanded pathways it has put into place. Wolf argues that the expanded pathways are only "a diversion of illegal aliens from between ports of entry to the ports of entry."

In his remarks, Wolf will contrast the Biden administration’s approach with the Trump administration’s approach, arguing that the prior administration secured the border, deterred illegal immigration, enforced the law and disrupted cartels.

"In stark contrast, today we see a border in chaos and crisis because the Biden administration ideologically and arbitrarily dismantled all of these proven policies," he will say. "Recommendations and concerns by Career Border Patrol experts were ignored and political correctness and rank ideology supplanted common sense and adherence to our immigration laws." 

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"To be clear -- the laws didn’t change between administrations – just the decision by the Biden administration not to follow those laws. They embraced destructive and unlawful policies that have made American communities dangerous and enriched the Mexican drug cartels," Wolf says.

Wolf notes statistics showing that 4.5 million migrants -- including 1.5 million "gotaways" -- have arrived in the country, a number bigger than every major U.S. city except New York City. He also challenges the claim by the Biden administration that its new process is "safe orderly and humane."

"But to whom exactly? Not to the migrants abused, extorted, or dying along the journey; not to American communities that have been overrun by this influx of illegal aliens and lethal fentanyl; and not to Border Patrol officers who have been assaulted and have pleaded with political leadership to solve this crisis," he says. "Instead, the process that has been created over the last two years can be more accurately described as dangerous, corrupt, and inhumane."

He goes on to say that the administration has failed to adhere to the DHS mission of securing the homeland and protecting its citizens.

"But the Biden Administration has not adhered to the DHS mission and eroded our institutions and ignored the rule of law. These policies are unlawful and this is a crisis by design," he says.