The GOP Immigration Agenda Faces Rigid Odds in Divided Houses

WASHINGTON — Republicans, intent on pressing ahead with their key campaign promise on immigration, turned an audience with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas into an interrogation focused on impeachment and advancing tough border security legislation Wednesday, despite GOP opposition. which could significantly kill both initiatives on the floor of the DPR.

“You have not secured our borders – and Mr Secretary, I believe you have done so deliberately,” Representative Mark E. Green, Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, told Mr. Mayorkas during a hearing before his panel. Republicans on the Judiciary Committee leveled similar accusations at Democrats to justify a series of new border policies that would further limit the ability of migrants to seek asylum.

Democrats decried the Republican Party's parallel attempts to oust Mayorkas and pass a bill to ban illegal border crossings as “political theatre,” especially since there is no viable path for the two to gain traction in the Democratic-led Senate.

But the more immediate obstacle House GOP leaders face lies in their own ranks: Not enough Republicans have yet passed impeachment proceedings against Mr Mayorkas or border security legislation to avoid a potentially embarrassing defeat on the House floor.

The border bill “has a long way to go before it hits prime time,” Representative Tony Gonzales, Texas Republican, told reporters this weekwarned that it would be foolish for GOP leaders to go ahead with an immigration bill that Congress has no chance of passing, given the party's slim majority in the House.

“In this Congress, five votes is 100,” he said.

Immigration is a potent political issue for most Republicans, who have a record record of illegal migration across the southern border; a concurrent spike in incidents of child labor, as documented by The New York Times; and the Biden administration's decision to halt construction of the border wall as evidence of malfeasance, particularly by Mr. Mayorkas. Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the California Republican, has threatened the secretary with potential impeachment, and earlier this month, Mr Green told Republican donors he would open a case against Mr Mayorkas showing “negligence of duty.”

At the center of GOP criticism of Mr Mayorkas is a statement that he lied under oath when testifying before a congressional panel in 2022 that the border is safe.

To back that up, Republicans have taken testimony from Chief Raul L. Ortiz of the Border Patrol, who told a homeland security panel last month that the government has no operational control over the border, under the standard “prevention of all trespassing entry” statute. law to the United States.”

Mr. Mayorkas has testified that neither he nor the Department of Homeland Security used that definition, and that his statements and those of Mr. Ortiz did not contradict. On Wednesday, he doubled down on his assessment, testifying that “the border is secure – and we are working day and night to make it safer.”

Democrats capitalized on the testimony, chastising Republicans for trying to pursue an impeachment case over political disagreements.

“There is absolutely nothing that I saw here today that constitutes a false statement under oath,” said Representative Dan Goldman of New York, the former prosecutor who led the Democrats' first impeachment case against Donald Trump.

A small but potentially important group of House Republicans have also expressed anxiety about Mr Mayorkas' sacking over what lawmakers said was essentially a policy dispute, not abuse of office. Such a Republican party could make or break the impeachment vote, as the GOP cannot lose more than four votes on any issue.

“This is strictly Joe Biden's policy, more than Mayorka's, and are we going to impeach the president on this? No,” Representative Don Bacon, a Nebraska Republican, said in an interview.

There is a similar simmering rebellion on the fringes of the GOP when it comes to efforts to pass a border security bill being made by committee leaders. has promised to put it on the DPR floor early next month.

The Judiciary Committee bill, which was tabled out of the panel late Wednesday by a majority of party-line votes, has prompted objections from some Republicans to the requirement that employers use the employability program known as E-Verify. This worries supporters of the agricultural industry, which relies heavily on undocumented immigrant labour. E-Verification checks documents provided by new employees against the records of the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security.

It's important to “have legal channels for people to come in and be able to work,” Representative Dan Newhouse, a Washington State Republican, who is also a farmer, said in an interview. He noted that Congress should pass new immigrant visas along with E-Verify mandates to avoid a major hit to the agricultural sector.

Some border state Republicans like Mr Gonzales have also warned against severely limiting legal avenues to the United States.

“We are against chaos, but we are a group that supports legal immigration,” he said this week.