U.S. House Republicans pursue impeachment of Biden border official

By Ted Hesson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A group of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives said on Wednesday they would seek to impeach President Joe Biden's top border official, a sign of coming political battles over record numbers of illegal crossings under the Democratic president.

Representative Andy Biggs, from the border state of Arizona, said he would file articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, whom many Republicans blame for what they say are lax border policies.

The impeachment push could find support in the Republican-controlled House but is unlikely to advance in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Still, the attempt could increase pressure on the Biden administration as it balances pledges to restore asylum access with record crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border.

A top Biden border official stepped down in November after saying Mayorkas had urged him to leave.

Biggs, speaking with more than a dozen fellow Republicans outside the Capitol on Wednesday, said Mayorkas had intentionally caused a border crisis by ending the restrictive policies of former President Donald Trump, a Republican.

"This is not negligence, it is not by accident," Biggs said.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokesperson said the lawmakers should focus on updating the U.S. immigration system - which has not had a major overhaul in decades - "instead of trying to point fingers and score political points."

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in November called on Mayorkas to step down, saying Republicans could impeach him if he did not. Biggs said he was hopeful McCarthy would support the effort, but the speaker's office did not immediately comment.

Representative Pat Fallon, a Texas Republican, filed a separate impeachment resolution against Mayorkas in January, accusing him of encouraging illegal immigration.

Trump was impeached by the House twice during his presidency, when Democrats had the majority in the lower chamber.

If impeachment charges are filed, the House Judiciary Committee would conduct an investigation that could lead to a committee vote on whether to approve charges against Mayorkas.

(Reporting by Ted Hesson in Washington; Additional reporting by Rick Cowan; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)