Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is leading a congressional delegation to the southern border on Thursday, marking his first visit to the border since winning the gavel last month.
Republican Reps. Juan Ciscomani (Ariz.), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (Ore.), Jen Kiggans (Va.) and Derrick Van Orden (Wis.) — all first-term lawmakers — will accompany McCarthy on the trip. The group will be traveling within the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector, and they will be briefed and receive an aerial tour from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, according to McCarthy.
Ciscomani delivered the Republicans’ State of the Union response in Spanish last week.
The trip comes a little more than one month after McCarthy won the Speakership in a 15-ballot election that forced him to give up a number of concessions to shore up support among the party’s right flank, including a floor vote on border legislation.
McCarthy made securing the border a key part of his agenda during the midterm elections, and in the lead-up to the Speaker race. In November, shortly after the midterms, McCarthy traveled to El Paso, Texas, and called on Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to resign over his handling of the southern border — a gesture toward conservative Republicans who had been pushing for impeachment.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) in December said the Border Safety and Security Act would pass in the first two weeks of the new Congress, but it has not yet come to the floor because of disagreements within the party.
The legislation would allow Mayorkas to turn away migrants in an effort to reach “operational control” at the border. Some lawmakers, however, have raised concerns about the limits it would place on asylum.
Some Republicans have been adamant about impeaching Mayorkas. Earlier this month, GOP lawmakers filed a second bill to impeach the secretary. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) called Mayorkas the “chief architect of the migration and drug invasion at our southern border.”
McCarthy has on a number of occasions said he will not use impeachment for political purposes, vowing to launch an inquiry if a reason presents itself. He reiterated that stance last week.
“We will never use impeachment for political reasons. It’s just not going to happen,” McCarthy said during a press conference when asked about a potential timeline for impeachment. “That doesn’t mean if something rises to the level [of] impeachment, we would not do it.”
Last week, the Department of Homeland Security hired a law firm to help respond to a potential impeachment of Mayorkas.