Feb 11, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Mayorkas, facing second impeachment vote, calls on Congress to fix border

Close-up image of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaking

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks at a press conference on Jan. 8 in Eagle Pass, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Sunday called on Congress to "fix" the crisis at the southern border.

Why it matters: An impeachment vote for Mayorkas failed last week in what marked a stunning loss for House Republican leadership, though he faces a second vote Tuesday.

What he's saying: "There is no question that we have a broken system. There is no question that we have a challenge, a crisis at the border. And there is no question that Congress needs to fix it," Mayorkas told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

  • "And we're doing everything we can within that broken system short of legislation to address what is not just a challenge for the United States but one throughout our region," he said.

Catch up quick: The 20-page Articles of Impeachment accused Mayorkas of pursuing far more lenient policies around the detention and release of migrants than prescribed by federal law and court rulings.

  • Mayorkas is also blamed for a surge in border crossings during the Biden administration, Axios' Andrew Solender reports.
  • However, DHS has disputed the allegations, releasing a memo discounting them and accusing House Republicans of playing "political games" and deciding to impeach Mayorkas before beginning an investigation.

Zoom in: On Sunday, Mayorkas called House Republicans' claims "baseless allegations" while also defending his job.

  • "That [asylum] case backlog, which is about 3 million cases, has been growing year, over year, over year. The time between when we encounter an individual at the border and the time of final adjudication of an asylum case has been years, five to seven years, for years and years," he said.
  • "I remember when I entered the Department of Homeland Security in 2009, we were wrestling with these very same issues. The system has not been fixed for 30 years," he added.

Mayorkas also pointed to the bipartisan border deal that quickly collapsed, saying a group of senators across parties "have now presented us with the tools and resources we need," but that "Congress killed it before even reading it."

Go deeper: House Democrats prepare to fight GOP encore on Mayorkas impeachment

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