© 2024 WUGA | University of Georgia
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

In bid to oust Homeland Security's Mayorkas, House GOP releases impeachment articles

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas faces two articles of impeachment from House Republicans who want to oust him over immigration enforcement.

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

The lawmakers say Mayorkas is not enforcing laws at the border with Mexico. All this as a bipartisan deal to address the border crisis may come together in the Senate also this week. But former President Donald Trump is lobbying against that deal.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: I'd rather have no bill than a bad bill.

INSKEEP: This has dismayed some Republican lawmakers who were hoping for an immigration agreement. NPR congressional correspondent Deirdre Walsh is covering all this. Good morning.

DEIRDRE WALSH, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: What is the specific allegation against Mayorkas? What did he supposedly do?

WALSH: Right. The House Republican resolution charges Mayorkas with two articles of impeachment. They say he willfully ignored the law and breached public trust. The top Democrat on the panel, Bennie Thompson, says this is all about scoring political points. There's no evidence of any high crime or misdemeanor.

The resolution singles Mayorkas out as responsible for the situation right now at the border. For example, Republicans say he implemented a system to parole migrants, release them after they file asylum claims, but this is a similar system that previous administrations have implemented for processing migrants at the border.

The committee's expected to pass this resolution tomorrow and likely along party lines, and it could be a matter of days before the full House passes it. But if the Republican House passes any articles of impeachment, the Senate is not likely to convict or remove Mayorkas. Even some Senate Republicans say it's really the president, not the secretary, who's responsible for immigration policy.

INSKEEP: And senators from both parties were in the middle of negotiating an agreement on at least some immigration policies. What do they want?

WALSH: Right. This is not any kind of comprehensive immigration reform. It's really a narrow plan designed to reduce the record numbers of migrants we've seen crossing the southwest border. Chris Murphy, who's the top Democrat negotiating this plan, talked about the new power it would give the president.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CHRIS MURPHY: This bill will include an ability for the president to shut down the border in between the ports of entry when crossings reach catastrophically high levels - not permanently, but until we are able to be able to better process people that are crossing the border.

WALSH: The plan would also include work permits for migrants who are allowed to enter the U.S. and are waiting for their asylum cases to be heard. It tries to shorten the period for those court cases to as short as six months.

INSKEEP: OK. This is something that Republicans want - at least, some of them - that, at least, some Democrats want - that could plausibly pass. But Donald Trump has turned against it.

WALSH: Right.

INSKEEP: And some are obeying him. So what does that mean?

WALSH: There are some Republicans on the Hill, like House Speaker Mike Johnson, who say President Biden has the authority to shut down the border on his own. But the top Republican negotiator working on this border deal, Oklahoma Senator Jim Lankford, said yesterday on Fox that it was actually Republicans who insisted on linking border policy changes to a bill funding Ukraine, and Republicans shouldn't set that aside because it's an election year.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JIM LANKFORD: We've got to do something now to be able to stop it and then to be able to put new tools that even the Trump administration was looking for when they were president - put those tools in place for every president from here on out.

WALSH: Republicans who support the border deal and money for Ukraine say this is the moment in divided government to actually get something done, but they admit former President Trump's opposition to a border deal means it's that much harder to get done. If they scuttle this border deal over politics, it means that the money for Ukraine probably won't get passed this year at all.

INSKEEP: Oh, my goodness. Very complicated. Deirdre, thanks so much.

WALSH: Thanks, Steve.

INSKEEP: NPR's Deirdre Walsh.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Deirdre Walsh is the congress editor for NPR's Washington Desk.