Republicans promised to hold Alejandro Mayorkas accountable, but they're having trouble finding the votes. Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) stated bluntly Monday that the party "isn't close" to unified behind an impeachment resolution.
Mayorkas, who leads the Department of Homeland Security, has long insisted the southern border is "secure," despite illegal immigration hitting record after record on his watch.
Republicans have accused Mayorkas of dereliction of duty, or even willful sabotage, with his aggressive push to wind down immigration enforcement. But they haven't been able to agree on what to do about it.
Conservative hardliners like Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Andy Biggs (Az.) have called for impeachment, but the party's moderates have shown more caution.
Republican gains in the House in last year's elections were more modest than anticipated, leaving the party with a narrow majority.
"We don't have the votes," Gaetz said. "I don't think we're close to having the votes.".
Even if House Republicans impeach Mayorkas, it's virtually certain he won't be removed, because Democrats control the Senate, where a two-thirds vote is needed for a conviction.
Mayorkas has flatly refused to resign, while deflecting blame onto a "broken system" that he says he inherited.
"I've got a lot of work to do. I'm proud to do it, alongside 250,000 incredibly dedicated and talented individuals in the Department of Homeland Security, and I'm going to continue to do my work," Mayorkas said in January.
At least two Republican proposals have been brought to impeach Mayorkas, one from Biggs and another from Pat Fallon (Tx.), charging Mayorkas with refusing to enforce key immigration laws like the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which requires “operational control” of the border.
For now, Republicans are conducting oversight hearings to bring some transparency to the border crisis and its impact. Without tangible consequences, however, such hearings are likely to sow cynicism among Republican voters.
Gaetz appeared at a hearing in Yuma, Arizona last week where witnesses testified to the immense burden mass immigration has brought to the community.
Dr. Robert Trenschel, president and CEO of Yuma Regional Medical Center, said the hospital spent $26 million on uncompensated medical care last year treating illegal immigrants. The volume of people pouring across the border has made it difficult to give local residents the care they need, he said.
"The city of Yuma has 100,000 people, and we’ve had over 300,000 people cross the border here. That’s three times the population of Yuma coming across the border," Trenschel said.