House Republican Party Launches Effort to Impeach Mayorkas Even as Senators Push for Border Deal

(Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

House Republican Party Launches Effort to Impeach Mayorkas Even as Senators Push for Border Deal

Immigration and the border


January 10, 2024

Moving forward with multiple impeachment plans, Republicans in the House of Representatives set their sights Wednesday on Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who they want to prove is failing in his duty in dealing with the surge of migrants at the border between the USA and Mexico.

Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Mark Green launched Mayorkas’ impeachment proceedings at a particularly political moment: On one side of the Capitol, a bipartisan group of senators are locked in almost daily negotiations with Mayorkas over a landmark border security package. . On the other hand, the House wants to dismiss him from office.

In opening the hearing, Green (R-Tenn.) said there is no reasonable alternative but to pursue the possibility of impeachment.”

The House of Representatives panel has been circling Mayorkas all year, at times expected to pursue impeachment proceedings against him as border crossings reached record levels, exceeding 10,000 on some days. The numbers have dropped recently.

But the impeachment of a Cabinet secretary is rare, having happened only once before in the nation’s history, when the House of Representatives impeached Secretary of Defense William Belknap in 1876 for receiving kickbacks in government contracts. Going after an official over a policy dispute, in this case over Mayorkas’ claim that he is not enforcing immigration laws, is unprecedented.

“You can’t impeach a Cabinet secretary because you don’t like a president’s policies,” said the top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi.

Thompson said the evidence at the hearings will show Mayorkas is actually doing his job. He described the political dysfunction emanating from the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. This is not a legitimate impeachment, he said.

As the Republican Party’s impeachment inquiry into President Biden over his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings drags on as lawmakers try to gather information, Republicans are sharpening their focus on border crossings and

research probe

from Mayorkas.

Speaker Mike Johnson


who leads a majority

who favors oversight and investigation over bipartisan legislation on the country’s challenges,

nodded to the impeachment proceedings.

At a press conference, he called Mayorkas the main cause of the border problems. Congress will now have to take the next step and hold him accountable, he said.

Johnson also spoke with Biden on Wednesday and strongly encouraged the president to use his executive authority to secure the southern border, the speaker’s spokesman Raj Shah said.

The Greens committee conducted a multi-part investigation into Mayorkas and the department, but kicked the process into high gear when far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene pushed the impeachment resolution after Johnson won the gavel following the ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy as speaker .

It remains to be seen whether the House of Representatives investigation will convince lawmakers that Mayorkas’ conduct rises to the level of the high crimes and misdemeanors the Constitution specifies for impeachment.

Lots of Republicans

prefer a return to Donald Trump-era immigration policies, and they

Blame Biden for taking actions to halt border wall construction and end COVID-19-era restrictions that kept many migrants from entering the US. Both policies were defended by

the former president, former president Trump

who is now the


frontrunner for the party’s 2024 presidential nomination.

“The evidence documented in this report will demonstrate that Mayorkas has and continues to fail in his solemn duty to secure the nation’s borders,” the panel’s original report said.

Green, the committee chairman, repeated a baseless racist conspiracy idea known as the great replacement theory when he recently argued that Mayorka’s intention in removing fewer migrants than Trump did was to fundamentally change the population of the United States , and I believe that to give power to the Democratic party forever.

Late Monday, Green said what’s happening on the two sides of the Capitol is separate, adding that negotiations between Mayorkas and senators “will continue and hopefully come to an agreement.”

The Department of Homeland Security issued a memo noting that Mayorkas and bipartisan senators are working hard to find real solutions to fix broken immigration laws, while the House majority is wasting time on baseless and pointless political attacks by trying to depose him.

Sen. James Lankford, the Republican Party’s lead negotiator for the border package who has been in negotiations with Mayorkas almost daily, said he understands his colleagues’ frustrations. But he encouraged them to focus, just as he has on legislation to force Biden’s hand.

Mayorkas is preparing President Biden’s policies, which is what a secretary will do, Lankford told reporters. So you can change secretary, the policy will be exactly the same.

Lankford privately briefed GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate on Wednesday about the border talks, which suffered a setback this week. Senators grappled with some disagreements, especially over parole programs to allow immigrants seeking asylum into the U.S. pending legal proceedings. Reaching a border deal is key to a broader financing package for Ukraine, Israel and other national security needs.

Over the course of the talks, Mayorkas and Lankford have come to trust each other, as the Cabinet secretary has tried to advocate for an immigration system that brings order and humanity, according to a person familiar with the talks who spoke to The Associated Press about the condition issue of anonymity.

But the goodwill for Mayorkas has not spread to the House of Representatives, where Republicans are preparing their efforts to remove him from office. The


The Homeland Security Committee plans to hold hearings in January with the end goal of removing Mayorkas.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Republicans hammered Mayorka’s actions, saying he had failed to do his job by detaining migrants who had no right to be in the country and allowing others to enter. remain pending the procedure.

We’re going to impeach him, said Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.).

The panel heard testimony from attorneys general on the flow of fentanyl into their states, often from drug cartels, and a law professor on the grounds for impeachment.

Democrats said the hearing was designed by Republicans to score political points rather than improve the immigration system. Impeachment will not make our borders more secure, said Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Ill.).

As the House continues its various impeachment investigations, not all Republicans are enthusiastic about the commitments.

Eight Republicans voted in November to delay the final vote on Mayorkas’ impeachment by sending it to committee. And some Republican senators have found themselves in a political bind as they try to support but also distance themselves from their far-right colleagues.

If the House of Representatives agrees to impeach Mayorkas, the case would go to the Senate, where a supermajority is needed for conviction. In the Grant-era case, Defense Secretary Belknap was acquitted in the Senate.

Does his handling of this meet the threshold of serious crimes and misdemeanors? That’s a question that needs to be answered, said Sen. John Thune, the second-ranking Republican leader in the Senate.

Associated Press writers Stephen Groves and Farnoush Amiri contributed to this report.


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