A defeat for House Republicans in their efforts to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Monday marks the latest blow to Republicans in Congress as they seek to move forward with solutions to the ongoing crisis at the southern border.
Eight Republicans joined with House Democrats in voting to table a motion that would have impeached Secretary Mayorkas, a move that Republicans have been teasing since they took the House in early 2023.
While it does not necessarily mark the end of impeachment efforts against Mayorkas — an investigation is still ongoing into his conduct in the House Homeland Security Committee — it is a significant defeat for Republicans in the House.
The Department of Homeland Security responded by urging Republicans to stop “wasting time and to do its job by funding the government, reforming our broken immigration system, reauthorizing vital tools for DHS and passing the administration’s supplemental request to properly resource the department’s critical work to stop fentanyl and further secure our borders.
“Secretary Mayorkas continues to be laser-focused on the safety and security of our nation. This baseless attack is completely without merit and a harmful distraction from our critical national security priorities,” the statement added.
The defeat comes after Republicans upset conservatives and border hawks earlier this year when they tried and failed to attach H.R. 2 — the House Republicans’ signature border security and asylum overhaul legislation — to a continuing resolution to keep the federal government open.
Instead, the House ended up passing a “clean” continuing resolution, which in turn led to the ouster of Speaker Kevin McCarthy. On Tuesday evening, the House passed another continuing resolution to avoid a pre-holiday season shutdown. That too did not contain policy riders, including those related to border security.
In the upper chamber, Senate Republicans last week introduced a series of border security proposals to be included as part of negotiations over the White House’s supplemental aid request. That package is expected to contain funding for Israel, Ukraine and the border.
However, the initial Republican proposals were immediately rejected by Senate Democrats as a “non-starter,” while the White House also dismissed the proposals. Immigration hawks, meanwhile, were critical that the proposals missed out on some parts of H.R. 2.
“If Republicans want to have a serious conversation about reforms that will improve our immigration system, we are open to a discussion. We disagree with many of the policies contained in the new Senate Republican border proposal,” a White House spokesperson said.
However, negotiations are still ongoing as a bipartisan Senate group discusses potential provisions that could be included in a supplemental aid package with support for Ukraine. But it remains to be seen what such a package will look like. Legislation would need to pass both the GOP-controlled House and prevent a Senate filibuster in the Democrat-controlled chamber.
In the House, some conservative Republicans have been sounding the alarm and criticizing their own caucus’ work so far, including the failure to pass border security legislation.
“We promised the American people we would stand athwart this administration, cut spending, secure the border. We’ve delivered on none of that so far,” Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, told “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” Tuesday.
Roy also warned that, in terms of upcoming negotiations, he would not be receptive if lawmakers “try and sell me something and call it border security if it’s not.”
“Don’t come to me with some nonsense with Ukraine and border security that doesn’t actually secure the border, or we’re going to have to call BS on that,” he said.
Immigration hawks have also told Republicans they should keep the border at the top of their priority list.
“The border crisis is only getting worse, and Republicans’ resolve to fix it cannot fade as budget negotiations continue,” Lora Ries, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Border Security and Immigration Center, told Fox News Digital.
“In the matter of just a few days, the House has let Mayorkas skate on impeachment while the Senate works on a proposal to undermine H.R. 2, which is the only serious solution to the crisis we face. A border disaster of this magnitude must not fall to the back burner in favor of politics and wrong priorities.”
The border crisis continues. Numbers published by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Tuesday show there were more than 249,000 migrant encounters in October, down only slightly from the monthly record set in September, when there were more than 269,000 encounters.
Republicans have continued to blame the policies of the Biden administration for the crisis, while the administration has called for more funding and policy changes to fix what it says is a “broken” system.
Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie contributed to this report.