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Mayorkas blasts impeachment as 'politically motivated accusations and personal attacks' 

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas gave an impassioned and detailed response to House Republicans, challenging arguments in their articles to impeach him as they push ahead with a Tuesday markup without his public testimony.

The seven-page letter to House Homeland Security Committee Chair Mark Green (R-Tenn.) is both personal and precise, reflecting on his career and family background while addressing each of the impeachment arguments point-by-point.

The letter reviewed of each of the six times Mayorkas took the oath of office as an assistant U.S. attorney to his current post as a cabinet official, countering claims from Green he has failed to uphold his oath of office.

He also dove deep into his record as one of the nation’s top immigration enforcers, seeking to disprove the claim that he has violated immigration laws by failing to detain a sufficient number of migrants — a crux of the Republican impeachment case.

“You claim that we have failed to enforce our immigration laws. That is false. We have provided Congress and your committee hours of testimony, thousands of documents, hundreds of briefings, and much more information that demonstrates quite clearly how we are enforcing the law,” Mayorkas wrote.

Mayorkas pointed to statistics collected since the Biden administration lifted Title 42 and its limitations on seeking asylum last May, noting they have since removed more than 500,000 individuals.

He noted that in three years, Biden has removed more migrants than in the entirety of the Trump administration — a period that included the pandemic. He also cited the implementation of a program that largely mirrors a Trump-era directive by requiring many migrants to first seek asylum elsewhere.

Mayorkas echoed Democrats and even some Republicans who have called his impeachment an improper use of the process based on policy differences rather than the constitutional standard of high crimes and misdemeanors. 

“Undoubtedly, we have policy disagreements on the historically divisive issue of immigration.  That has been the case between Administrations and Members of Congress for much longer than the past 38 years since the last overhaul of our immigration system. I think it is unconscionable to separate children from their parents as a tool of deterrence. I believe that law enforcement at the border can be tough and humane,” Mayorkas wrote, nodding to Trump-era policies.

“It is our responsibility to the American people to work through our differences and try to reach solutions together. The bipartisan group of United States Senators is currently doing just that.”

Mayorkas, the first DHS secretary to himself arrive to the U.S. as a migrant, would be the second cabinet official to be impeached since the 1870s, following a secretary of war who took kickbacks.

Mayorkas said while he would leave the questions about the GOP’s misuse of impeachment power to experts, “what I will not defer to others is a response to the politically motivated accusations and personal attacks you have made against me.”

“My reverence for law enforcement was instilled in me by my parents, who brought me to this country to escape the Communist takeover of Cuba and allow me the freedoms and opportunity that our democracy provides.  My parents experienced such loss at the fisted hands of authoritarianism that the American law enforcement officer stood as a tangible symbol of safety and the rule of law in our new home,” he wrote, adding that “everything America meant and gave to my family” motivated him to join public service.

“I have been privileged to serve our country for most of my professional life. I have adhered scrupulously and fervently to the Oath of Office I have taken six times in my public service career.”

Mayorkas also responded to allegations that his office wasn’t responsive enough during their multi-month investigation, calling them “baseless and inaccurate.” 

Of the more than 20,000 pages of documents DHS has produced to Congress this year, 13,000 have gone to Green’s committee. Mayorkas has also testified before the House Homeland Committee seven times over the last three years.

“Whatever proceedings you initiate, however baseless, my responsiveness to oversight requests will not waiver,” he said.

Green asked for Mayorkas to testify before the panel for its impeachment hearing for Jan. 18, giving the secretary roughly two weeks notice in a departure from what is often months of advance outreach.

Mayorkas would have been the second panel of the hearing, appearing after two mothers who lost their children in a fentanyl and gang-related death they blame on Biden immigration policies.

Mayorkas has said he would like to testify, but he was not available on the date suggested by the committee. The secretary was already set to host a Mexican delegation to discuss border issues amid broader negotiations on immigration with the Senate.

Green did not adjust the hearing schedule or his plans for a markup — which he had announced in a late December interview with Fox News — instead saying Mayorkas should submit written testimony.

A memo from House Homeland Security panel Republicans obtained by The Hill showed the committee had decided to hold a late-January markup the same day it kicked off its two-hearing series to weigh Mayorkas’s impeachment.

Mayorkas ended his letter with an expression of dedication to his job.

“I assure you that your false accusations do not rattle me and do not divert me from the law enforcement and broader public service mission to which I have devoted most of my career and to which I remain devoted,” he wrote.

Source: The Hill

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