Republicans argue Biden has power to fix border crisis as Mayorkas impeachment moves forward

The White House acknowledged on Tuesday that there are actions that Biden could take to better control the border

Published: January 30, 2024 11:00pm

Updated: February 6, 2024 4:33pm

While carrying out the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, House Republicans argue that President Biden and his administration already have the authority to fix much of the problems at the border but are instead deferring to a divided Congress to pass a compromise bill.

"I’ve done all I can do. Just give me the power. I’ve asked from the very day I got into office,” Biden told a reporter on the White House lawn as he departed for a fundraising jaunt to South Florida, reported The New York Post.

House Speaker Mike Johnson retorted by writing on X that Biden's statement is "simply untrue," arguing that "he’s either lying or misinformed.”

Challenging Biden's assertion that absent more authority his hands are tied, Johnson also said there are some "authorities at his disposal – if only he would use them: Presidential Authority to Restrict Entry 212(f), Expedited Removal 235(b)(1), Discretionary Detention Authority 236(a), Mandatory Detention 236(c)."

"No more excuses," he concluded.

When Biden took office, he ended many Trump-era border policies through executive orders including the "Remain in Mexico" policy, which required the asylum seekers who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border to wait in Mexico while their case makes it way through the U.S. court system. He also halted construction of additional physical barriers at the border.

There were a record 302,000 migrant encounters at the border in December alone and 2.4 million total encounters in fiscal year 2023.

Rep. Robert Garcia, D-Calif., blasted former President Trump and House Republicans for supporting Mayorkas' impeachment and opposing a bipartisan border deal, arguing that Trump wants "chaos" at the border. Just the News asked Gomez why Biden doesn't take steps through executive actions to fix issues at the border, given that he ended Trump-era policies the same way.

"That's not accurate. I mean, let's be real true with the facts. The border migration challenge and crisis began in the last year of the Donald Trump presidency, and border crossings and migration have tripled during an eight month period of time leading up to when President Biden took office," Garcia said in response.

"So let's we should be very honest about when the actual border crisis actually started. That was under Donald Trump. You had a bunch of policies that weren't working and on day one of the Biden presidency, he proposed an immigration reform package that Republicans have completely rejected," he added.

Democrats want to see Congress pass border-related legislation. 

"The Republicans need to engage in the discussions that are going on at the Senate in a constructive manner and not waste time on revengeful impeachments, which is what this is," Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas., told Just the News.

The White House acknowledged on Tuesday that there are actions that Biden could take to better control the border.

Olivia Dalton, deputy White House press secretary, was asked on Tuesday if Biden's position that there's nothing within his current authority that he can do on migration.

“You heard from the president, I think on the, just a moment ago, that certainly he feels that there are things that are within his power, but there are also things that are not within his power that he is looking for a congressional authority to do in order to step up border security," she said.

"They should consider Secretary Mayorkas as complying with the law and abiding by the law, by the very fact that he is at the table with Republicans and Democrats working on what we have not gotten since 1986, which is comprehensive immigration reform," she also said.

Republicans argue that Mayorkas is not following existing immigration law and fueling a border crisis. He faces two articles of impeachment.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas., said at the impeachment markup on Tuesday that the Biden administration is "creating a criminal enterprise in the United States" given that migrants stopped at the border who get released into the U.S. are vulnerable to sex trafficking and gang activity. I don't see how anyone with a straight face can argue that the numbers haven't skyrocketed under this administration," he said.

Just the News asked Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, if Biden should take action unilaterally to address the border crisis, given that he rescinded many Trump-era border policies that way. "I think he's doing a good job with those executive orders he's put in place. The question is whether or not the numbers coming across the border can be decreased," he said. 

There have been a record number of suspected terrorists encountered at the southern border under Biden. Thompson was asked if he is concerned that migrants with criminal histories are getting getting into the U.S. over the border. "Well, my understanding is that, to the extent resources allow, they're doing all they can to check. There's no 100%. But for my vantage point, they're doing the best job they can," he said.

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