EXCLUSIVE: A key moderate Republican lawmaker is coming out in support of impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, bringing House GOP leaders one step closer to unifying their conference on the issue.
Rep. John James, R-Mich., who represents a swing district that former President Donald Trump won by just 1% in 2020, told Fox News Digital that not only should Mayorkas be impeached but tried for treason as well.
“Secretary Mayorkas must be impeached and tried for treason,” he said.
“Evidence will prove that Mayorkas’ sustained and willful betrayal of the public trust makes him an accessory to the poisoning of millions of Americans, complicit in a modern-day slave trade and so derelict in his duty to secure the homeland that it crosses unequivocally into the realm of high crimes and misdemeanors.”
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House Republicans kicked off the process to impeach Mayorkas last week when the Homeland Security Committee held its first hearing into the matter on Wednesday.
Democrats have decried the move as political, while Republicans have accused Mayorkas of being responsible for the migrant crisis at the southern border. The number of encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border broke 300,000 for the month of December, shattering records.
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Any future House floor vote on impeachment will likely not get any support from the left. For GOP leadership, that means bringing together a Republican conference that has been highly fractured for much of this term and getting moderates like James on board.
Under the current circumstances, House GOP leaders cannot lose more than two votes to still pass anything along party lines.
James was among more than 60 House Republicans who visited the border at the start of this month.
“I believe that legal immigration is an economic and moral imperative for this nation. But we’re talking about border security right now,” he told reporters on a press call afterward.
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“We have Border Patrol agents that are underfunded, that are underappreciated, and they’re at their wit’s end. And part of the only reason they’re still sticking around is because if they leave, they feel like they’re leaving their buddies behind. That resonates with me… as a former military member.”
James also discussed the toll of human trafficking by smugglers taking people across the border illegally.
“These are human beings we’re talking about. These are men and women. These are children,” he said. “These are God’s creatures, who are being herded like cattle, like chattel, like, like animals, by these coyotes. And they’re being bought and sold to the tune of $32 million per week just in the Del Rio sector.”
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Republicans have blamed the Biden administration for fueling the crisis by rolling back Trump-era border policies.
House conservatives are currently pushing to bring many of them back via their own border security bill, known as H.R.2.
Meanwhile, talks are ongoing in the Senate to cobble together a border security deal — talks which Mayorkas has been part of.
Asked for comment on Republicans’ impeachment push, a DHS spokesperson told Fox News Digital in a memo, “After decades of Congressional inaction on our broken immigration laws, Secretary Mayorkas and a bipartisan group of Senators are working hard to try and find real solutions to address these challenges. Instead of working in a bipartisan way to fix our broken immigration laws, the House Majority is wasting time on baseless and pointless political attacks by trying to impeach Secretary Mayorkas.”
The memo also pointed out that Republican lawmakers have fundraised off the Mayorkas impeachment push and the rhetoric around it, and that some in the GOP have decried it as a waste of time.