In a “blatant Friday late-night news dump,” the Biden administration finally released its September border figures, revealing a record number of both illegal crossings and migrant deaths. Now more Republicans — including U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc — are calling for the head of Homeland Security to be fired over the fiasco or face impeachment.
According to data from Customs and Border Patrol released at 11 p.m. Friday, the U.S. suffered a record 2.3 million “migrant encounters” in the fiscal year that ended October 1, thanks to a surge of 227,647 crossing in September — also a record.
More troubling were the record 856 deaths of migrants attempting to make their way to America
This CBP report did not include “gotaways” — illegal immigrants who were observed crossing the border but not apprehended — estimated at around 600,000 last year, or the entire population of Vermont.
Republicans blame Biden’s border policies, supported by the Democratic majority in Congress, and they say they have the numbers to prove it. In September 2020, just months before Biden took office, there were fewer than 58,000 “encounters.” By September 2022, that number had soared by 400 percent.
Bolduc said the impact of America’s porous border is being felt on the streets of Manchester and Nashua, where there have already been more than 700 opioid overdoses and the number of fentanyl deaths is surging.
“Month after month we are seeing a record-setting number of illegal border crossings due to Sen. (Maggie) Hassan and President Biden’s dangerous open border policies,” said Bolduc spokeswoman Kate Constantini. “As our borders remain weak, we are seeing drugs pour in and communities become more and more dangerous, putting countless Granite Staters at risk. We can’t afford another 6 years of this failed leadership under Sen. Hassan; Granite Staters’ lives depend on it.”
Bolduc has made border security a key part of his campaign to unseat Hassan, who until recently supported the Biden approach. She repeatedly voted against funding a border wall, opposed the Trump administration’s “remain in Mexico” policy, and supported proposals to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants who made it into the U.S.
Hassan said last week she still supports amnesty, and she continues to oppose “remain in Mexico” rules. But as her poll numbers fell last spring, she made a high-profile trip to stand in front of a section of wall built by the Trump administration endorsing the very construction she had previously voted against.
“It’s very clear the [Biden] administration needs to address certain gaps in the physical barriers along the border,” Hassan said.
Republicans mocked her embrace of a border wall as “MAGA Maggie” political desperation.
“Maggie Hassan has been content to leave our southern border wide open,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokesman T.W. Arrighi, adding that she voted against bipartisan legislation that would continue to fund wall construction at the southern border three times in 2021 alone:
“Hassan can try to spin the facts all she wants but the record is clear,” Arrighi said.
Hassan’s official Senate staff declined to respond to requests for public information about her work as a member of the Homeland Security Committee, which oversees border policy. Hassan’s campaign declined to comment as well.
Hassan isn’t alone. Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas were also a no comment on the record border surge numbers, and they also declined to say if they would support a growing effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of the border. A group of House Republicans has filed impeachment legislation, and Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have publicly warned the secretary that his inaction in the face of growing border chaos could be “grounds for impeachment.”
Mayorkas has repeatedly declared “the border is secure,” a claim many of his fellow Democrats have acknowledged is less than accurate. Asked about his claim of a secure border at a time of record deaths of migrants being trafficked by criminal cartels, Majorkas replied that “safe and secure are two different words.”
“The recent reporting of the record-setting illegal crossing makes it very clear the DHS secretary is not fit for his position,” Bolduc told NHJournal. “Leadership has failed from the top down, including not just Sec. Mayorkas but Sen. Hassan and her open border policies. I believe there are clear grounds for impeachment, and I would support it.”