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By U.S. Senator Jim Risch

This week, the U.S. Senate takes up the trial of Alejandro Mayorkas, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary who was impeached by the House of Representatives earlier this year. While this trial will focus on Secretary Mayorkas’ catastrophic mismanagement of the border, the problems with the Biden administration’s immigration policy go beyond him. From his first day in office, President Biden has refused to enforce our nation’s laws regarding illegal entry. This administration-wide policy has led to the illegal immigration crisis we see today. 

Under President Trump, America had a policy of detain and deport, which enforced existing U.S. law that required the detention of any individual who crosses our border illegally. Under the Biden administration, however, that policy was replaced with “catch and release”—a direct violation of U.S. law. This has resulted in the majority of illegal aliens being released into the U.S. In December 2023 alone more than 75 percent were released into America’s interior. 

Beyond simply releasing millions of people who deliberately broke our laws, the administration is providing these individuals with access to a significant number of taxpayer funded resources, including food stamps and Medicaid. The president has gone so far as to change the public charge rule, which was intended to prevent people who will be reliant on the federal government from being granted residency in the U.S.

Biden’s Department of Homeland Security has also fought several border states’ attempts to keep their state boundary safe. These states, like the federal government, have a duty to their citizens to keep them safe, yet the administration is preventing these efforts from moving forward.

President Biden, Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas, and this entire administration are refusing to enforce America’s existing immigration laws, and the result has led to deadly fentanyl flowing into the U.S., drug cartels and dangerous criminals freely roaming the U.S. and committing more crimes, and millions of migrants coming here to live off of taxpayer dollars.

As we head into Secretary Mayorkas’ impeachment trial, I first and foremost am calling for a thorough trial that dives into each issue before the Senate regarding these charges.

I am concerned Senate Democrats are choosing to protect their own party’s cabinet instead of acknowledging the reality of the secretary’s actions and the fact he, at the president’s directive, deliberately and repeatedly refused to enforce existing laws.

There must be a trial. As a juror, I will listen intently to the presentation of evidence, and I will release a judgment that reflects reality. At this point, it seems to me that a high crime was committed in failing to enforce our laws. But make no mistake, even if Secretary Mayorkas is removed from office, we will continue to see a crisis at the southern border as long as President Biden refuses to enforce our immigration laws and as long as he commands his officials to facilitate illegal entry into our nation.