Republican-Led House Impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas

In a historic move, the Republican-led House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. This marks only the second time in U.S. history that a Cabinet member has faced impeachment. The articles of impeachment against Mayorkas allege intentional violations of federal immigration laws and obstruction of congressional oversight of the Homeland Security Department. The House approved the articles by a slim margin of 214-213. However, it is highly unlikely that Mayorkas will be convicted in the Senate, given the Democratic majority in the chamber.

A Statement from President Biden

Following the vote, President Joe Biden issued a statement condemning the impeachment as a blatant act of unconstitutional partisanship. He criticized House Republicans for targeting an honorable public servant in order to play petty political games. The White House has consistently dismissed the impeachment effort as a political distraction, particularly in light of the Republicans’ rejection of $20 billion in border security funding in a bipartisan Senate deal. The Department of Homeland Security also voiced its opposition, describing the impeachment as baseless and unconstitutional while highlighting Mayorkas’ efforts to develop bipartisan solutions for border security.

Absent Democrats and GOP Redemption

The impeachment motion found success this time around due to the absence of two Democratic Representatives, Judy Chu of California and Lois Frankel of Florida. Their absence allowed Republicans to clinch the majority vote. Rep. Chu, who was isolating after testing positive for Covid-19, expressed her intention to vote against the impeachment had she been present. For Speaker Mike Johnson and other Republican hardliners, the successful impeachment provided a small redemption after a failed attempt the previous week. The return of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who had been undergoing cancer treatment, ensured the Republicans’ majority vote.

Despite their optimism, Republicans faced a precarious majority in the House. A snowstorm in the northeast threatened to impede travel to Capitol Hill, potentially jeopardizing the impeachment vote. Even with all GOP members present, Republicans could only afford three members to vote against the impeachment. During the previous vote, three Republicans broke party lines to join Democrats in sinking the impeachment effort. On Tuesday evening, Reps. Ken Buck of Colorado, Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, and Tom McClintock of California maintained their no-votes. Gallagher’s announcement that he would not seek re-election further complicated matters for Republicans in a key swing state.

The re-vote on the impeachment occurred just hours before polls closed in a special election in New York. The outcome of this election could tighten the House Republican majority if the Democratic candidate were to prevail. Speaker Johnson and ultraconservative Republicans view Mayorkas’ impeachment as part of a broader effort to challenge the Biden administration’s handling of the Southern border. The region has experienced an influx of migrant crossings in recent months. Mayorkas has consistently argued that the chaos at the border is not solely his responsibility but rather a symptom of the country’s broken immigration system that has persisted for decades.

The impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by the Republican-led House is a significant development in U.S. history. This controversial move highlights the deep partisan divide over immigration policies and the degree to which politics can influence government actions. While Mayorkas now faces a trial in the Senate, it is expected that he will be acquitted given the Democratic majority. The implications of this impeachment on the ongoing border crisis and wider political landscape remain to be seen.

Politics

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