As a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Mississippi 4th District Congressman Mike Ezell outlines why he’s supporting impeachment proceedings against the Secretary of Homeland Security.
The biggest challenge facing Congress in 2024 is securing our southern border. Last year alone, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recorded over 2.9 million encounters at the Southwest border—more than the entire population of Mississippi.
As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, it’s my responsibility to ensure the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is keeping our nation safe and enforcing our border security laws. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s abject failure to fulfill that mission means we must hold him accountable as soon as possible.
Tomorrow, we’ll be taking up articles of impeachment against Secretary Mayorkas after a near year-long investigation into his handling of this unprecedented crisis. I’m proud of what our committee has produced, and I am supporting the impeachment proceedings of Secretary Mayorkas.
As a sheriff and police chief, I always prioritized the safety and security of my community.
As the head of DHS, Secretary Mayorkas has done the exact opposite. In fact, his policies are stripping law enforcement of the resources they need to do their jobs and tacitly encouraging illegal immigration.
For example, Congress paid for a border wall to be built that could be finished by now. Instead, for political reasons, Secretary Mayorkas is keeping the border wall material in storage—and even selling some of it. Without a wall, miles and miles of the border are left open for illegal crossings.
And in sections of the border where walls have been built, Border Patrol agents have been ordered to weld gates open, making it easy for cartels to send migrants through by the busload.
Once migrants cross the border, Secretary Mayorkas’s catch-and-release policies allow them to remain in the United States for an average of four years pending an immigration hearing. DHS is supposed to process these migrants and collect destination addresses within the United States, but an Inspector General’s report found that nearly 20% of addresses collected are invalid.
To devote more people and resources to processing the surges of migrants, DHS has had to close several border checkpoints—the very places where Border Patrol officers check vehicles for illegal narcotics and human smuggling.
Our Committee recently released portions of transcribed interviews from Border Patrol sector chiefs in California, Arizona, and Texas who have had to close some of their checkpoints. Based on their testimony, checkpoint closures mean more illegal aliens with criminal backgrounds avoid apprehension. That’s particularly frightening when the number of individuals on the terrorist watchlist who’ve attempted to illegally cross the Southwest border has increased 2,500 percent from the combined total of Fiscal Years (FY) 2017 through FY2020.
These checkpoint closures also allow criminals to smuggle drugs such as fentanyl without fear of being caught. That fentanyl winds up in communities across the country, leading to record numbers of overdose deaths. It’s gotten so bad that Mississippi universities have had to install Narcan dispensers in dormitories and train students on how to use it.
Secretary Mayorkas is also preventing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers from doing their jobs while seeking to reduce the number of facilities they use to detain illegal aliens.
While hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens were crossing the Southwest border every month last year, Secretary Mayorkas proposed reducing the number of ICE beds by 26%. In late November, reports surfaced that DHS might close a California detention facility that can hold 2,000 people—but currently holds just six.
ICE agents need these facilities to house aliens. By closing these facilities and reducing the number of beds, Secretary Mayorkas has tied the hands of ICE agents, forcing them to release these individuals into our cities. Now, migrants who should be in ICE facilities or returned to their country of origin are being housed in hotels and even schools.
As a forty-two-year law enforcement officer, I’m disgusted to see someone responsible for enforcing our laws instead deliberately instituting policies that make our country less secure. Thousands of CBP and ICE officers who risk their lives every day to keep America safe, yet their boss makes it impossible for them to do their jobs effectively.
Mississippi residents know that this border crisis is unsustainable, and they know who is responsible. When the articles of impeachment for Secretary Mayorkas are brought before the Committee, I will stand with my constituents in Mississippi.