House Panel OKs Impeachment Charges Against Mayorkas

House plans quick vote on removing homeland security secretary
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 28, 2024 4:40 PM CST
Updated Jan 31, 2024 12:49 AM CST
GOP Releases Two Mayorkas Impeachment Articles
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies on Capitol Hill in November.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
UPDATE Jan 31, 2024 12:49 AM CST

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 AP reports. The Homeland Security Committee debated all day Tuesday and well into the night before recommending two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas to the full House, a rare charge against a Cabinet official unseen in nearly 150 years. All committee Republicans voted in favor, while the Democrats unified against it. The full House could vote on Mayorkas' impeachment as soon as next week. If approved, the charges would go to the Senate for a trial, though senators may first convene a special committee for consideration.

Jan 28, 2024 4:40 PM CST

House Republicans on Sunday released two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as they vowed to swiftly push forward with election-year efforts to oust him over what they call his failure to manage the US-Mexico border. The rare step against a Cabinet member drew outrage from Democrats and the agency as a politically motivated stunt lacking the constitutional basis to remove Mayorkas from office, the AP reports. Republicans contend Mayorkas is guilty of "high crimes and misdemeanors" that amount to a "willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law" on immigration and a "breach of the public trust." Impeachment, they say, is "Congress's only viable option."

Only once in American history has a Cabinet secretary been impeached: William Belknap, President Ulysses Grant's war secretary, in 1876, over kickbacks in government contracts. Going after an official for a policy dispute, in this instance over the claim that Mayorkas is not upholding immigration laws, is unprecedented. Ever since taking control of the House in 2023, Republicans have pushed to impeach Mayorkas. Sunday's announcement comes as their other impeachment drive—against President Biden in relation to his son Hunter's business dealings—has stalled, per the AP.

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The Republican-controlled House Homeland Security Committee plans to vote Tuesday on the articles of impeachment, aiming to send them to the full House. Speaker Mike Johnson has said the House will vote on them as soon as possible; passage requires only a majority. If it passes, the Senate would hold a trial, and a two-thirds vote is required for conviction, an exceedingly unlikely outcome in the Democratic-run Senate. Even as the House GOP tries to remove him from office, Mayorkas has been engaged in arduous negotiations with senators to reach a bipartisan deal on border policy, for which he has won praise from lawmakers. Rep. Bennie Thompson, the top Democrat on the House committee, said the GOP resolution does not have "a shred of evidence of high crimes or misdemeanors."

(More Alejandro Mayorkas stories.)

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