Rep. Juan Ciscomani calls for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas' resignation

Allie Feinberg, Arizona Republic
Thu, June 8, 2023 at 10:42 PM EDT

Rep. Juan Ciscomani is joining a chorus of Republican voices saying Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas should not remain in office.

Mayorkas has been facing scrutiny for his handling of a number of affairs at the Arizona-Mexico border, including fentanyl crossing into the country and the end of Title 42, the controversial pandemic-era health authority that allowed U.S. border authorities to immediately expel more than 2.7 million people trying to enter the country.
Mayorkas is unworthy of his position, Ciscomani, R-Ariz., said.

"He has come down to Arizona at least once where he made promises he did not keep," Ciscomani said Wednesday in an interview on Fox Business.

On a visit to Arizona, Mayorkas announced Operation Blue Lotus, which targets fentanyl entering the United States. On June 1, agents in the Border Patrol's Yuma Sector found more than $2 million worth of fentanyl at a checkpoint along Interstate 8, according to a Twitter post from Chief Patrol Agent Patricia McGurk-Daniel. The narcotics totaled more than 192 pounds, enough to kill 48 million people, she said.

In response to criticism on dealings with fentanyl, the Department of Homeland Security pointed to the work by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations.

"DHS is investing additional personnel, technology and other resources along the Southwest border to detect and seize this dangerous drug at and between points of entry," Mia Ehrenberg, a Homeland Security spokesperson, said in a written statement.

Ciscomani has been an ongoing critic of the Biden administration's approach to illegal immigration, saying that "Without Title 42, border communities like (Arizona's 6th Congressional District) are left on their own to shoulder an unprecedented surge at the Southern Border."

On May 11, the Ciscomani-backed Secure the Border Act of 2023 passed the House of Representatives.

The bill addresses border security by forcing the Biden administration to resume border wall construction, imposes additional requirements for asylum seekers, expands the category of non-U.S. nationals subject to expedited removal and more.

The same day, Ciscomani introduced legislation that would extend Title 42.

"Border communities in my district and other states cannot shoulder the burden of this crisis any longer. While the White House still refuses to act, Congress has stepped up and offered a bipartisan, bicameral solution, which I am proud to support," he said in a written statement.

Ciscomani has accused Mayorkas of not beingresponsive to Congress' inquiries.
In response, Ehrenberg said in a written statement that Mayorkas has "(testified) before Congress more than any other Cabinet Secretary."

While Ciscomani only called for resignation, Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., has filed articles of impeachment against Mayorkas, citing his "failure to secure the southern border, dereliction of duty and wanton disregard for his Constitutional oath."

Ehrenberg, the Homeland Security spokesperson, said policy differences are not grounds for impeachment.

"Instead of pointing fingers and pursuing a baseless impeachment, Congress should work with the Department and pass comprehensive legislation to fix our broken immigration system, which has not been updated in decades,” Ehrenberg said.

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony from Heritage Foundation Distinguished Fellow Steven G. Bradbury, who said Mayorkas has allowed himself power to step beyond his boundaries.

"Through their ultra vires policies, Secretary Mayorkas and the president have arrogated to themselves the power to overturn the laws enacted by Congress and replace them with new and wholly unauthorized immigration 'pathways' through which is streaming into our country an ever-rising flood of illegal immigration," he testified.

On the other hand, American Immigration Council Policy Director Aaron Reichlin-Melnick testified that the law has been faithfully executed.

"The Constitution charges the President with faithfully executing the laws. But Congress has passed laws which impose competing legal requirements on the Executive Branch, requiring federal agencies to navigate a complicated web of statutory and Constitutional obligations. And some laws are easier to execute than others, especially in a world of limited resources."

While a spokesperson for Ciscomani declined to comment on specific articles of impeachment, he said the representative's position is clear.

"There should be no doubt that Representative Ciscomani does not want Secretary Mayorkas to continue in office," C.J. Karamargin said.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Ciscomani's Mayorkas resignation pleas continue