House Republicans voted along party lines after midnight Wednesday to move toward impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for a ‘willful and systematic’ refusal to enforce immigration laws.
The Homeland Security Committee debated all day Tuesday and well into the night to recommend two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas to the full House as border security becomes a top 2024 election issue.
It’s a rare charge against a Cabinet official unseen in nearly 150 years, as Republicans make GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s hard-line deportation approach to immigration their own.
All committee Republicans voted in favor, while the Democrats unified against it.
‘We cannot allow this man to remain in office any longer,’ said Chairman Mark Green.
The impeachment articles charge that Mayorkas ‘refused to comply with Federal immigration laws’ amid a record surge of migrants and that he has ‘breached the public trust’ in his claims to Congress that the US-Mexico border is secure.
The Homeland Committee hearing Tuesday devolved into chaos with Democrats pulling delay tactics and even Rep. Robert Garcia, D-Calif., comparing Donald Trump’s hardline immigration stance to Adolf Hitler.
The frenzied and drawn-out hearing dragged out late in the night due to the highly political nature of the resolution, which accuses Mayorkas of high crimes and misdemeanors.
Democrats offered amendments and other procedural motions to keep the hearing live and delaying the vote.
Majority Leader Steve Scalise insisted the impeachment articles would advance to the House floor next week.
The Mayorkas impeachment resolution launched to the forefront as border crossings reached fresh records in recent months – including 300,000 in December alone – speeding ahead of the Joe Biden impeachment inquiry.
‘This is a terrible day for the committee, the United States, the Constitution and our great country,’ said Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the committee’s ranking Democrat.
Referring to Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ campaign slogan, Thompson said the ‘MAGA-led impeachment of Secretary Mayorkas is a baseless sham.’
The House´s proceedings against Mayorkas have created an oddly split-screen Capitol Hill, as the Senate works deliberately with the secretary on a bipartisan border security package that is now on life support.
Only one Cabinet member has ever been impeached before – War Secretary William Belknap in 1876.
He was not convicted in a Senate trial – and if Mayorkas is impeached by the House, he likely won’t be by the current Democrat-led Senate either.
Republicans are currently operating on a two-seat majority – and cannot pass the resolution on the floor without near-unanimous support.
Reps. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., and Dave Joyce, R-Ohio, both told reporters they are undecided on how they’ll vote.
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., is ‘leaning no,’ with his office telling DailyMail.com he is still talking to constitutional experts before deciding how to vote.
Even moderates, who in previous months have been more hesitant to commit to impeaching a Biden Cabinet member, are now seemingly on board.
They say they aren’t worried about thwarting bipartisan Senate immigration negotiations because they have no faith that the Senate, which is working with Mayorkas, will come up with a meaningful deal.
Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., said his understanding of the deal is that it has ‘very little to do with border security and more to do with immigration processes.’
‘If we were to not impeach Mayorkas,’ he told reporters, ‘I don’t still I don’t then see the president coming to the table and seeing that as an olive branch to come actually do something meaningful.’
‘I think they can both happen at the same time,’ Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., said of Senate negotiations and impeachment.
Meanwhile during the Homeland Security hearing, California Democrat Rep. Robert Garcia compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler.
Republicans moved forward two articles of impeachment against Biden’s border chief Mayorkas – one accusing him of willfully subverting immigration laws through catch-and-release and another accusing him of obstructing and lying to Congress.
But Democrats angrily hit back at the GOP-led impeachment during the markup, trying to tie their hardline immigration policies to a dictatorship.
Democrat Rep. Garcia went further, likening former President Donald Trump to Hitler, because he ‘speaks about immigrants with the same rhetoric that Hitler claiming that immigrants like me and my family and they ‘pollute the blood of this country.”
‘He wants chaos,’ Garcia added, saying the Trump and ‘MAGA’ border security plan includes ‘alligator moats, bombing northern Mexico, shooting migrants in the legs, and electrifying the fence and putting spikes.’
‘This is all about trying to get Donald Trump reelected,’ the Democrat claimed, as House Republicans have swatted away Senate-led, bipartisan immigration negotiations in favor of pushing through impeachment.
Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., touched on the high-profile battle between the Biden administration and the state of Texas, claiming Republicans have been ‘sabotaging’ Biden’s efforts to secure the border.
Abbott and Biden are locked in a legal battle after Abbott sent the National Guard to Eagle Pass, Texas, to apprehend migrants and kicked federal agents out of Shelby Park, a popular place for migrants to pass.
‘So your own party is sabotaging and undermine this administration’s efforts to address the border while you are trying to impeach him by saying that they’re not addressing the border. The hypocrisy is the least of it,’ said Goldman.
‘Your attack on the rule of law and our democracy is the worst of it. And you better be careful about the bed that you make.’
Goldman said on Monday that if Republicans impeach Mayorkas over what he deems to be mere policy differences, Democrats could impeach a future Republican Homeland Security over a child separation policy like that under Trump, for example.
Mayorkas lashed out at House Republicans trying to impeach him, saying he would not be swayed by ‘politically motivated accusations and personal attacks you have made against me.’
Mayorkas wrote a scathing seven-page letter to House Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., Tuesday morning, just hours before the GOP was set to move forward impeachment articles against him.
‘I assure you that your false accusations do not rattle me and do not divert me from the law enforcement and broader public service mission to which I have devoted most of my career and to which I remain devoted,’ he said.
The Homeland Security secretary insisted he’s done the best he can with the tools available to him – and any further restrictions will take an act of Congress.
Mayorkas has been involved in bipartisan Senate talks on a national security aid and border package that House Republicans have largely rejected.
He maintained that the GOP investigation has ‘established’ that Mayorkas ‘willfully and systemically refused to comply with the laws of the United States and breached the public trust. ‘
‘A letter at 4:48am on the morning of our markup, repeating the same false claims and doubling down on his commitment to his continued lawless conduct, indicates the contempt with which he views Congress, the American people, and the Constitution he swore an oath to defend,’ continued Green.
In December 2020, former President Trump’s last full month in office, there were 92,000 border encounters. In December 2023, there were around 250,000. Mayorkas suggested that took extreme policies from the Trump team.
‘I think it is unconscionable to separate children from their parents as a tool of deterrence,’ he said, referring to a part of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance border policy in 2018.
‘I believe that law enforcement at the border can be tough and humane. It is our responsibility to the American people to work through our differences and try to reach solutions together.’
Republicans cite Mayorkas’ ‘willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law’ as hundreds of migrants continue to flood into the U.S. every day.
They contend Mayorkas is guilty of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ that amount to a ‘refusal to comply with the law’ on immigration and a ‘breach of the public trust.’
The impeachment resolution stated: ‘Alejandro N. Mayorkas willfully and systemically refused to comply with the immigration laws, failed to control the border to the detriment of national security, compromised public safety, and violated the rule of law and separation of powers in the Constitution, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.
Passage requires only a House majority. The Senate would hold a trial, and a two-thirds vote is required for conviction, an exceedingly unlikely outcome in the Democratic-run Senate.
Democrats say Republicans have held a sham of an impeachment process against Mayorkas and lack the constitutional grounds to impeach the secretary.
Goldman suggested the GOP’s efforts opens the door to making impeachment political.
‘The Republicans are going to open the door to impeach a secretary because they don’t like how that secretary is doing his job, well, what happens if there’s another child separation policy?’ he said, referring to Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy.
They also say Republicans are part of the problems at the border, with Republicans attacking Mayorkas even as they have failed to give his department the tools it needs to manage the situation.
‘They dont want to fix the problem; they want to campaign on it. That´s why they have undermined efforts to achieve bipartisan solutions and ignored the facts, legal scholars and experts, and even the Constitution itself in their quest to baselessly impeach Secretary Mayorkas,’ the department said in a statement Sunday.
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????Breaking: The House Committee on Homeland Security with 18 – 15 votes have advanced articles of impeachment against DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas out of committee. pic.twitter.com/3cRwYLYenF
— Real Mac Report (@RealMacReport) January 31, 2024