Jan 16, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Homeland Security Committee's focus for second impeachment hearing

 (Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Chairman Mark Green (R-TN) during a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing on "Mayorkas Failed Leadership." Photo: Marvin Joseph/WashPost via Getty

Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee plan to center their second impeachment hearing for Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on the purported effects of the influx of migrants at the border.

Driving the news: The panel is set to hear from an array of witnesses on Thursday ranging from a law enforcement official to people who lost family members as a result of violent crimes or drug overdoses.

  • The panel will hear from Tammy Nobles, who previously testified to Congress about the death of her 20-year-old daughter Kayla Hamilton. The suspect in Hamilton's death, unnamed because they are a minor, is reportedly an undocumented immigrant who was previously arrested in El Salvador for being associated with the MS-13 gang.
  • Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels — a 40-year veteran of law enforcement who has previously been appointed to several specialty assignments by Arizona governors — is also set to testify before the committee about his experiences trying to combat border-related issues.

What they're saying: Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green (R-Tenn.) has repeatedly argued that the Biden administration's policies are responsible for the surge of migrants at the border.

  • "The tragedies of the past three years are both heartbreaking and infuriating," Green said in a statement to Axios.
  • "Heartbreaking, because those killed by fentanyl poisoning or by illegal or inadmissible aliens are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters—all now taken from those who love them."
  • "Infuriating, because these tragedies were preventable. Secretary Mayorkas has failed to enforce the laws of the United States, and the consequences have been disastrous."

Between the lines: Republicans are trying to make the case that the Biden administration's border policies have made Americans less safe.

  • However, undocumented immigrants are actually significantly less likely to be arrested for violent crimes than U.S. citizens and many border cities are safer than similarly sized cities elsewhere.

The big picture: Lawmakers on the panel — which focused its first hearing on how the crisis has impacted border states — sparred over the grounds for impeachment, with Republicans asserting that the secretary's handling of policy is grounds for impeachment while Democrats argue they are politicizing the panel.

  • Mayorkas has defended his tenure, alleging during recent remarks that Congress has stalled on providing supplemental funding requested to secure the border.
  • The Department of Homeland Security has repeatedly blasted the proceedings, alleging it is "a baseless political attack that distracts from national security priorities and finding real solutions" in a recent memo where they accused the panel of conducting "sham hearings" and defended Mayorkas' record.
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