According to statistics released by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Feb. 13, the number of interactions between migrants and law enforcement officers at the border between the United States and Mexico has reached a new high for January.

According to the data, the Border Patrol reported more than 176,000 encounters with migrants at the southern border in the month of January. Prior to that, the highest number of interactions recorded by CBP in January was 157,358 in the year 2023.

“As a result of seasonal trends, as well as enhanced enforcement efforts by the men and women of CBP and our international partners, southwest border encounters between ports of entry dropped by 50% in January. We continue to experience serious challenges along our border which surpass the capacity of the immigration system,” Troy A. Miller, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner said in a Feb. 13 statement.

“CBP remains on the frontline in preventing fentanyl and other dangerous drugs from entering our country, enforcing our nation’s laws and interdicting 34% more fentanyl and 68% more cocaine than the previous month,” Mr. Miller added.

During the Biden administration, Border Patrol agents have documented unprecedented levels of illegal immigration.

According to federal documentation, they have encountered more than 2.2 million illegal migrants at the southern border during the fiscal year 2022, and they have encountered more than 2 million illegal migrants during the fiscal year 2023.

According to the data, the Border Patrol has documented more than 753,000 interactions with illegal migrants in the region so far in the fiscal year 2024.

Republicans in Congress have questioned the administration and relevant members of President Joe Biden’s cabinet.

Impeachment of Mayorkas

On the same day as the release of the report, Republicans in the House voted to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. The secretary became only the second cabinet member ever to be impeached in the 236-year history of the United States government.

After being chosen by President Biden and confirmed by the Democratic-controlled Senate in 2021, Mr. Mayorkas was impeached on two counts related to his management of the border issue.

The impeachment was approved by a vote of 214–213, with all Democrats voting against the measure and all but three Republicans voting in support of it.

The announcement of the impeachment vote results was met with a resounding round of applause from the audience.

This vote came just one week after a vote of 215 to 215, where the House did not succeed in impeaching the embattled Secretary of Homeland Security. This step was taken exactly one week after the vote. Rep. Blake Moore (R- Utah) changed his vote to a “no” in a parliamentary motion that enabled the House to revisit the impeachment resolution. This resulted in the total number of votes being changed to 214–216.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the Republican leader of the House of Representatives, who was absent from the vote the previous week due to his treatment for blood cancer, cast the vote that ultimately decided the outcome of the Feb. 13 vote.

The impeachment resolution was met with the same level of opposition from three Republicans who voted against it in the last vote. The three members of the group are Reps. Ken Buck (R-Co.) Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Tom McLintock (R-Calif.).

In 1876, after the House of Representatives passed five counts of impeachment against former Secretary of War George Belknap, he became the first and, up until this month, the only cabinet member ever to be impeached. The secretary resigned from his position.

In spite of President Ulysses S. Grant’s efforts, the Senate was unable to convict Belknap of the charges against him.
Administration Response

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reacted to the vote, saying Republicans made the wrong decision.
“House Republicans will be remembered by history for trampling on the Constitution for political gain rather than working to solve the serious challenges at our border,” Mia Ehrenberg, a DHS spokesman, said in a statement after the vote.

“Without a shred of evidence or legitimate Constitutional grounds, and despite bipartisan opposition, House Republicans have falsely smeared a dedicated public servant who has spent more than 20 years enforcing our laws and serving our country. Secretary Mayorkas and the Department of Homeland Security will continue working every day to keep Americans safe.”

President Biden also denounced the impeachment, calling it a “blatant act of unconstitutional partisanship” on the part of House Republicans, whom he accused of “playing politics with the border.”

He also defended his secretary of the homeland and his administration’s handling of the border crisis.

“Congress needs to act to give me, Secretary Mayorkas, and my administration the tools and resources needed to address the situation at the border,” the president said in a statement.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), however, defended the Republican decision, saying Mr. Mayorkas “deserves to be impeached.”

“From his first day in office, Secretary Mayorkas has willfully and consistently refused to comply with federal immigration laws, fueling the worst border catastrophe in American history,” Mr. Johnson said.

“He has undermined public trust through multiple false statements to Congress, obstructed lawful oversight of the Department of Homeland Security, and violated his oath of office.”

Mark Tapscott and Joseph Lord contributed to this report.

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