Rep. Jim Jordan laid out the case for impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, telling The Washington Times he “deserves it” after overseeing an unprecedented surge of illegal activity at the southern border.
Mr. Jordan, who is in line to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee with jurisdiction over impeachment should Republicans win control of the chamber in November, said the decision to pull the trigger will be made collectively.
The Ohio Republican signaled his support for the idea in an interview with The Times.
“Mayorkas deserves it,” Mr. Jordan said. “He’s told us how many times the border is secure, and you almost want to say, like, ‘What are you talking about?’ There’s not a rational person with an ounce of common sense who thinks the border is secure. We don’t really have a border anymore, and we’ve had a record number of millions of illegal migrants coming across, so he certainly deserves it, but that’ll be a decision we make as a committee and one that we make as a conference.”
Mr. Mayorkas is most likely the first target if Republicans control the impeachment power, but he is not the only one.
Various Republicans have introduced measures to impeach President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. None of them has gone anywhere in the Democratic-controlled House.
The Mayorkas impeachment resolution, sponsored by Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, has garnered the most support, with more than 30 Republicans signing on.
Asked whether Republicans have enough votes for impeachment, Mr. Jordan paused.
“I don’t know, but I do think there is strong sentiment among House Republicans, particularly House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, that Mayorkas has done an absolutely terrible job,” he said.
Impeachment requires only a majority vote in the House.
After an official is impeached, the Senate holds a trial. It takes a two-thirds majority in the Senate for conviction and removal from office.
Only one Cabinet official has ever been impeached, in 1876, and the Senate did not vote to convict in that case. Several others have resigned during impeachment proceedings in the House.
Written more than a year ago, Mr. Biggs’ measure describes the case against Mr. Mayorkas as “a pattern of conduct that is incompatible with his duties.” That included halting the construction of the border wall while overseeing the catch-and-release of unprecedented numbers of illegal immigrants and a rise in the trafficking of illegal drugs such as fentanyl.
Mr. Jordan said the case against Mr. Mayorkas would be a “failure to enforce the law and secure the border in a general sense.”
He said the number of terrorism suspects trying to sneak into the U.S. could become part of impeachment proceedings. From Oct. 1 through Aug. 30, Border Patrol agents recorded nabbing 78 people who appear on the government’s terrorist watchlist.
Earlier this year, Mr. Jordan confronted Mr. Mayorkas about the number and demanded to know what happened to those 78 people.
“Have they been sent back? Were they released? What’s the status? He said, ‘I don’t know.’ That in and of itself would raise concerns of are you fit for this job,” Mr. Jordan said.
The Homeland Security Department declined to comment.
Mr. Mayorkas brushed aside other calls for his ouster. He told CNN earlier this year that he wasn’t concerned. “I am focused on mission,” he told the network.
Defending his decisions, he said he is restoring humanity to an immigration system that tilted too far during the Trump years. Mr. Mayorkas said he has a vision for a safe, secure and orderly flow of migrants and is trying to execute those plans.
Critics wonder why those plans weren’t in place before Mr. Mayorkas led the dismantling of the Trump-era tools that largely calmed the border.
Calls for Mr. Mayorkas’ ouster are increasing.
Chad Wolf, who served as acting secretary in the Trump administration, told The Times’ “Politically Unstable” podcast in August that there was a “very strong case” for impeaching Mr. Mayorkas.
“Your job is to enforce the laws as Congress has written,” Mr. Wolf said. “There’s a number of things Congress has told you to do, and if you say, ‘I’m not going to do that because I have limited resources and I’m just going to exempt whole [categories of] people from that,’ I would say that’s a good case of you’re ignoring the law.”
Christopher Landau, who served as ambassador to Mexico in the Trump administration, also said Mr. Mayorkas should face impeachment.
The Republicans’ appetite for impeachment has been fueled partly by the two impeachments of President Trump, both of which failed to garner enough votes for conviction in the Senate.