House Republicans have taken another step toward their unprecedented efforts to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who they blame for a migrant crisis at the US-Mexico border.
On Tuesday, the Homeland Security Committee held a hearing to consider two articles of impeachment accusing Mayorkas, the first Latino and immigrant to ever lead DHS, of “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and a “breach of public trust.” Secretary Mayorkas, Chairman Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) said in his opening remarks, “has put his political preferences above following the law.” The Republican lawmakers voted early Wednesday morning to send the impeachment resolution to the House floor.
As I’ve written before, Republicans have been scrambling to make an impeachment case that amounts to little more than policy disagreements. Today, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) called the proceedings a “baseless political stunt” by MAGA Republicans comparable to “throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks.”
Several constitutional law experts and former DHS officials say the process is making a mockery of the powerful tool of impeachment. As I reported:
Because impeachment wasn’t intended to be the equivalent of a vote of no confidence in parliamentary systems, [Frank Bowman, a University of Missouri law professor and author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: A History of Impeachment for the Age of Trump] explained, an impeachable conduct should meet “a very high treshold of seriousness” and be of a “type that corrupts or subverts the political and governmental process.” There is no evidence that Mayorkas has committed treason, bribery, or high crimes and misdemeanors.
Ahead of the hearing, Mayorkas released a six-page letter to Green (R-Tenn.) responding to “the politically motivated accusations and personal attacks you have made against me.” In it, he noted that, contrary to GOP talking points, the Biden administration has removed or returned more migrants in the last three years than President Donald Trump did throughout his term.
Mayorkas added: “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.”
In a statement during the hearing, Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.), highlighted the irony and hypocrisy of House Republicans charging against Mayorkas for not doing his job, while also siding with Trump in opposing the bipartisan border deal being negotiated in the Senate.
“You are sitting here right now trying to impeach a Secretary of Homeland Security for neglecting his duties literally while he is trying to perform his duties and negotiate legislation.” He continued: “The real reason we are here, as we all know, is because Donald Trump wants to run on immigration as his number one issue in the November 2024 election.” (I recently explained Trump’s immigration plans for a second term.)
There’s yet another irony here. Mayorkas, who could potentially become the first cabinet secretary to be impeached since the 1800s, is being targeted for an alleged failure to secure “operational control” of the border despite carrying out the very policies—including harsh restrictions on asylum at the southern border—that have opened up the Biden administration to criticism for not upholding its promises to fundamentally depart from Trump on immigration.