FIRST ON FOX: A group of 11 Texas GOP lawmakers called on Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to “pivot” how he is handling the massive uptick in illegal border crossings along the U.S. southern border.
The border state lawmakers — led by freshman Rep. Morgan Luttrell, R-Texas — noted that there has been a record level of illegal immigration during the Biden administration and under Mayorkas’ leadership, arguing it unfairly burdens Texas in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary first obtained by Fox News Digital on Wednesday.
“While you live in Washington, D.C., far from the chaos the Biden Administration has created, border states suffer. Our cities are overburdened, flooded with illegal drugs, and inundated with crime,” Luttrell and the other Republicans wrote in the letter. “We are deeply concerned you care more about furthering the Biden Administration’s liberal agenda than the safety and security of the people of the United States and our border.”
“The Department of Homeland Security states the purpose of the Secretary is to ‘secure and manage our borders.’ You have failed to do this job. Additionally, you have shown a complete ineptitude or unwillingness to fix the problems your policies have created,” they continued.
The lawmakers added that by “willfully failing to maintain border security,” Mayorkas has violated the Secure Fence Act of 2006, a federal law that requires the DHS secretary to secure the nation’s international land and maritime borders.
According to multiple Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources, the number of migrant encounters in December surpassed 250,000 for the first time on record. The figure came in higher than the previous 2022 peak of 241,136 encounters which was recorded in May. That is in addition to more than 70,000 “gotaways” at the border in December alone. FY 2022 as a whole saw nearly 600,000 getaways – illegal immigrants who slipped past Border Patrol agents.
The administration has pointed to “root causes” like poverty, corruption and even climate change for fueling what it says is a hemisphere-wide crisis. It has sought to expand legal pathways for asylum which it says exacerbated the crisis when they were shut during the Trump administration. Mayorkas recently acknowledged that the migrant numbers were overwhelming, and renewed calls on Congress to pass a sweeping immigration reform bill – which has been rejected by Republicans for its inclusion of a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants.
“There’s no question that the number of encounters that we are experiencing at the border is straining our system,” Mayorkas said in an interview this month, as he called the immigration system “fundamentally broken.”
“No one disagrees with that. We just can’t seem to agree upon the solution. And a solution is long, long overdue,” he said.
Republicans have zeroed in on the Biden administration’s handling of the crisis, particularly as they have taken control of the House. Republican leadership has pledged to investigate the administration’s handling of the crisis, and even suggested impeaching Mayorkas – with Rep. Pat Fallon introducing articles of impeachment last week.
In their letter, the Texas lawmakers argued that the DHS should reinstate measures introduced under the Trump administration and bolster funding for law enforcement agencies tasked with securing the border.
“To get serious about securing our Southern border, we must pivot how we handle it,” the lawmakers continued in their letter to Mayorkas. “We must reimplement President Trump’s border policies that led to the most secure border in 30 years. We must give our border patrol and customs agents the funding they need. We must update our decades-old immigration laws so that our laws incentives legal immigration and disincentives illegal immigration.”
“We are a country of Law and Order, not lawlessness,” they wrote. “Therefore, we call on your to do what the position of Secretary of Homeland Security entails and begin putting the safety of the United States and its people ahead of your own misguided liberal policies.”
Overall, there were a whopping 2.3 million migrant encounters along the U.S.-Mexico border throughout FY 2022, CBP data showed. By comparison, there were a total of 458,000 encounters in FY 2020 and more than 1.7 million in FY 2021 as migrants surged to the border.
“Texas is facing the worst border crisis we’ve ever seen, as our border is being flooded with chaos, crime, and drugs that are overburdening our state and border patrol agents,” Luttrell told Fox News Digital.
“Secretary Mayorkas has refused to take the border crisis seriously, and the irresponsible and dangerous border policies of this Administration have undoubtedly left the United States vulnerable,” he added. “We will hold this Administration accountable and restore our national security.”
In addition to Luttrell, Reps. Kay Granger, Michael Burgess, Brian Babin, Dan Crenshaw, Lance Gooden, Ronny Jackson, Pete Sessions, Nathaniel Moran, Keith Self and Beth Van Duyne signed the letter Wednesday.
The DHS didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.