(The Center Square) – Attorneys general from Montana, Oklahoma and Missouri testified before Congress on Wednesday about how the border crisis was impacting their states.
They testified in the first of three hearings to be held by the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee as part of its chairman’s stated plan to impeach U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Committee Chairman Mark E. Green, R-Tenn., said, “Secretary Mayorkas has demonstrated through his words and actions that he has failed to uphold his oath of office and in his duty to secure the homeland. There is no longer any question that articles of impeachment must be considered.”
He asked each of the attorneys general several questions about what he called Mayorkas’ “dereliction of duty.” Has Mayorkas “failed to enforce laws passed by Congress and subverted them? Do you believe that Mayorkas has defied court orders issued by U.S. courts? Do you believe that Mayorkas misled Congress in describing operational control of the border?”
He also asked if increased fentanyl-related deaths and the increased number of known, suspected terrorists coming through the border constituted a “great and dangerous” threat to the United States. They all replied yes to his questions.
All three also said Congress was within its constitutional right to bring impeachment articles against Mayorkas. Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey said Mayorkas has “abdicated his official duties, he’s in dereliction of duty and should be held accountable.”
Democrats said the hearing was “a joke,” “a fraudulent impeachment,” and backed by a MAGA-led movement. They also argued that policy disputes between Congress and the White House do not rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors, an argument made by Frank Bowman, professor emeritus of Law, University of Missouri School of Law.
U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, R-NC, said Bowman’s testimony directly contradicted claims he made in a 2019 book he wrote about high crimes and misdemeanors.
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen said the border crisis “is a self-inflicted injury” directly resulting from policies implemented by Mayorkas. He also said, “Secretary Mayorkas has violated his oath to defend the homeland and uphold the Constitution by repeatedly disregarding the laws passed by Congress. To that end, he has instructed the men and women of his department to violate congressional mandates and circumvent court orders issued after states like Montana have taken the drastic measure of filing suit against the federal government to stop the madness at the southern border.
“His actions as secretary have turned the border into an effectively meaningless 2,000-mile line in the sand, ceding operational control to Mexican drug cartels – some of the most savage and depraved organizations in world history.”
Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond testified “about the dangers my citizens face due to a porous border and the failure of the federal government to enforce the law.
“Throughout Oklahoma, law enforcement comes into daily contact with foreign nationals who entered our country illegally or who remain here illegally – or both. This is tragic and common in Oklahoma’s illegal marijuana grow operations,” he said.
“Our law enforcement partners report that the foreign nationals most often involved in these illegal enterprises come from China and Mexico. We have identified individuals from many other countries, to include Cuba, Bulgaria and Russia.”’
Bailey said the consequences of Mayorkas’ policies do not discriminate against red or blue states.
“Blue states are also begging the federal government to course correct, as they too are forced to bear the unspeakable burden of tens of thousands of unauthorized migrants entering their communities.”
Bailey pointed to Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs deploying the National Guard to the Arizona-Mexico border, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker requesting federal aid, and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declaring a state of emergency – all in response to an influx of illegal entries burdening their states.
“The fact of the matter is that every state is a border state,” Bailey said. “Every state and its citizens are forced to bear the brunt of Secretary Mayorkas’ ineptitude. My call to Congress today is simple: remove that burden from the shoulders of everyday Americans and put it back where it belongs – on the shoulders of those sworn to protect us.”
“Secretary Mayorkas swore an oath to faithfully execute the laws of our land, including those intended to protect Americans. Congress has even given DHS ample tools to do its job. But let’s be clear: this hearing today is not about resources. It’s about Secretary Mayorkas’ refusal to use the resources given to him in good faith.”