Former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff on Sunday called potential Republican efforts to impeach the agency’s current leader, Alejandro Mayorkas, a “political stunt.”
In an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan, Chertoff, who served under former President George W. Bush, said House Republicans threatening to impeach Mayorkas would be engaging in performative politics, calling any effort to do so a “very sad day.”
“It would basically be putting form over substance to go through a big performance on impeachment that’s never going anywhere,” he said, “rather than actually working with the administration to solve the problem.”
Last week, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) threatened to impeach Mayorkas when the GOP takes control of Congress next month.
Republican lawmakers have been irate with statements Mayorkas has made that the border is under control despite border crossing numbers.
They are also upset about the end of the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which was enacted under the Trump administration and allowed border agents to force migrants to wait in Mexico while asylum claims are heard.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) on Sunday told ABC’s “This Week” that Mayorkas has been “derelict in his responsibility” but they would have to “build a case” to get to impeachment.
Former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, who served under former President Obama and appeared alongside Chertoff on CBS, said the agency handles a wide array of responsibilities including national security and that Mayorkas cannot afford to be deterred by Republican probes.
“We can’t have a secretary who is distracted by a stunt in Congress,” he said.
Republicans have long protested what they say is the Biden administration’s lack of action at the border, with governors in Texas and Florida sending buses full of migrants this year to northern cities run by Democrats.
But Chertoff urged Republicans to focus instead on working with the Biden administration to handle the issues at the border.
“Maybe address the standard with respect to asylum, create more resources that are available to adjudicate, and work out additional ways to fund the effort to undermine the cartels and the smugglers,” he said.