Republicans chastised U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas at a congressional hearing on Tuesday and called for his resignation over a record number of migrants arrested attempting to cross the border illegally, a preview of how the party may approach control of the House of Representatives.
Mayorkas defended his department’s activities and stated that he had no intention of stepping down. Chris Magnus, the country’s senior border official, resigned on Saturday after stating Mayorkas urged him to quit or be fired.
Republicans are likely to be more hostile to Mayorkas if Republicans obtain control of the United States House of Representatives following last week’s midterm elections and assume leadership roles in oversight.
Republicans have captured 215 of the 218 seats required for a majority as of Tuesday afternoon. The Senate will remain under Democratic hands.
While the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Tuesday was titled “Worldwide Threats to the Homeland,” Republicans focused heavily on the southern border.
In the fiscal year 2022, which concluded on September 30, US authorities arrested a record 2.2 million migrants at the US-Mexico border, posing operational and political issues for Democratic President Joe Biden.
Representative Clay Higgins, a Republican from Louisiana, asked Mayorkas whether he had allowed US border officials to release migrants detained at the border without sufficient vetting, but Mayorkas was frequently cut off before he could respond, prompting rebukes from several Democrats.
Mayorkas was rumored to leave before the opening of the new Congress on January 3, according to Higgins. Mayorkas stated that the reports were untrue.
“Alright, we look forward to seeing you in January,” Higgins said.
Later in the hearing, Mayorkas praised Biden’s record on border enforcement, particularly the use of a Trump-era COVID order that permits officers to quickly deport migrants to Mexico or their home nations.
Mayorkas stated that the government has “expelled or removed more individuals from the United States than ever before.”
On Wednesday and Thursday, Mayorkas will appear before two other congressional committees.