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GOP senators grill DHS secretary on border crisis, but he still won’t call it a crisis

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After historical surges in immigration this last month, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee Thursday. Republican members were finally able to ask Mayorkas direct questions about the ongoing crisis.

First, when ranking member Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) brought out a chart to display the surge, Mayorkas attempted to reiterate President Biden’s sentiments, blaming it on the previous administration. Portman pointed again to the numbers.

“Don’t blame the previous administration for not having facilities that they didn’t need because they didn’t have the surge,” Portman said.

RELATED: 20 governors demand that Biden end the border crisis

Next, Sen. James Lankford (R-OH) asked the secretary to address the amount of people who have crossed the border and not received a court date for their immigration hearing.

“We understand there’s been 19,000 individuals that have crossed the border this calendar year that were not given a notice to appear [in court,]” Lankford said. “Is that correct?”

“I am not aware of that number,” Mayorkas replied.

Then, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) asked Mayorkas if he would call the situation a crisis. “It seems Mr. Secretary that you’re proud of the progress made by the administration” the Utah senator asked. “I see an extraordinary crisis! Do you recognize this as an alarming crisis? Is this not a massive failure that would suggest that the administration needs to take immediate action to remedy what we’re seeing here?”

“We have taken immediate action with respect to the unaccompanied children,” Mayorkas responded, refusing to call the situation a crisis.

RELATED: Almost 500 incidents of violent crimes at the border since Biden took office: report

After, Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) pointed out improvement in the processing of these children. Just in April, the average unaccompanied child found at the border was in Border Patrol custody for 139 hours. Now, on May 11, children were in Health and Human Services’ custody for only 26 hours.

But, even the Democrat senator had to point out a glaring problem when it comes to immigration. The United States has no ambassador for the countries of Honduras or El Salvador. Honduras is the number two nationality among migrants crossing in recent months. As many as 38,000 arrived at the border in April alone. Over 11,000 migrants were from El Salvador, making it the fourth most represented nationality.

“We have not had a US ambassador to Honduras for four years,” Carper said. “For four years!”

“We’re very focused on that,” Mayorkas said.

RELATED: California Border Patrol saw a 51% increase in illegal immigrants in April

Finally, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) talked about his own visit to the border and pointed out that neither the President or the Vice President have visited the border after over 100 days in office.

“Are you disappointed that President Biden and VP Harris have not taken the time to come to the border?” Scott asked.

“Absolutely not,” Mayorkas said. He claimed the responsibility for visiting the border himself, and said he’s been many times since.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism

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Immigration

BREAKING: Senate votes down both articles of impeachment against Mayorkas in party-line vote

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The Senate voted down two articles of impeachment Wednesday which alleged Department of Homeland Security Secretary  Alejandro Mayorkas engaged in the “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” regarding the southern border in his capacity as DHS secretary. The second claimed Mayorkas had breached public trust.

What resulted in a party-line vote, began with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., proposing a point of order declaring the first article unconstitutional, to which the majority of senators agreed following several failed motions by Republicans. The article was deemed unconstitutional by a vote of 51-48, with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, voting present.

Fox News reports:

Schumer’s point of order was proposed after his request for unanimous consent, which would have provided a set amount of time for debate among the senators, as well as votes on two GOP resolutions and a set amount of agreed upon points of order, was objected to by Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo.

Schmitt stated in his objection that the Senate should conduct a full trial into the impeachment articles against Mayorkas, rather than the debate and points of order suggested by Schumer’s unanimous consent request, which would be followed by a likely successful motion to dismiss the articles. 

Republican senators took issue with Schumer’s point of order, as agreeing to it would effectively kill the first of the two articles. Several GOP lawmakers proposed motions, which took precedence over the point of order, to adjourn or table the point, among other things. But all GOP motions failed. 

After another batch of motions to avoid voting on Schumer’s second point of order, which would deem the second article unconstitutional, the Senate agreed to it. The vote was along party lines 51-49, with Murkowski rejoining the Republicans. 

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