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WASHINGTON — As GOP lawmakers continue to antagonize the Biden administration over its immigration policies, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, warned Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that his handling of the southern border could be “grounds for impeachment.”
Cruz, along with U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, sent a letter to Mayorkas on Tuesday blasting him for “gross dereliction of duty” and citing record-high numbers of crossings at the southern border.
“These astronomically high numbers are due in no small part to the political decision to rescind a number of President Trump’s policies that were stemming the flow of illegal aliens and illicit drugs across the southern border,” Cruz and Graham’s letter said. “Withdrawing the Remain in Mexico policy, ending Title 42 expulsions, terminating border wall construction contracts, and countless other decisions, coupled with your own lax border policies, act as ‘pull’ factors that have encouraged millions of aliens to undertake the dangerous journey to the U.S.-Mexico border.”
The letter is not the first time Cruz has sparred with Mayorkas, who has been a consistent target of conservative ire over immigration. He has repeatedly floated the idea of impeaching him on his podcast.
The Republican senators also said Mayorkas was responsible for the worsening of the opioid epidemic as DHS has “ceded control of our southern border to the cartels.”
DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Texas has put forward $4 billion to fund Operation Lone Star, which Gov. Greg Abbott launched in March 2021 to ramp up security along the Texas-Mexico border. Abbott has made border security the centerpiece of his reelection campaign and has torched Biden administration officials for the increase in migrant crossings. But despite his efforts, the number of migrants that officials encounter at the southern border is higher today than it was before the start of Operation Lone Star program.
The tough posture toward the DHS secretary comes as Republicans prep for possible control over the House and Senate after the midterm elections. While any legislative wins are unlikely with President Joe Biden in the White House, one source of leverage Republicans could gain is control over congressional oversight.
Cruz previewed what his party would do with a majority in the Senate — which he described as 60% likely — in an appearance at The Texas Tribune Festival in September.
“You’ll have real oversight,” Cruz said in front of a crowd in Austin. “Senate Judiciary Committee — we haven’t had a single hearing on the chaos at the southern border. One of the first things that is likely to happen is I think the House will impeach Alejandro Mayorkas.”
While he admitted the Senate would never be able to convict Mayorkas, he said the value in the impeachment would be having “an extensive trial on his absolute dereliction of duty to put these facts before the American people.”
It was not the first time a Republican has put out the trial balloon for Mayorkas’ impeachment. More than a dozen GOP lawmakers have already lined up behind the idea of impeachment, according to CNN.