The U.S. House of Representatives is moving forward with an unprecedented attempt to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of the immigration policy and the surge of migrants at the southern border.
Republicans accuse Mayorkas of dereliction of duty and misconduct
The House Homeland Security Committee, led by Republican Chairman Mark Green of Tennessee, held its first impeachment hearing on Wednesday, where it heard from witnesses who blamed Mayorkas for the deaths of their daughters and the deterioration of border security. Green said that Mayorkas has failed to fulfill his oath of office and has committed “egregious misconduct” by encouraging illegal immigration and ignoring the law. He argued that Mayorkas is the “greatest domestic threat to the national security and the safety of the American people” and that he should be removed from office.
The impeachment effort is supported by more than 60 House Republicans, who have signed a resolution to charge Mayorkas with high crimes and misdemeanors. They claim that Mayorkas has violated the Constitution, the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act by implementing policies that have led to a record number of migrant arrivals, a backlog of asylum cases, a humanitarian crisis, and a public health risk amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They also accuse him of lying to Congress and the public about the situation at the border and of obstructing congressional oversight.
Democrats and experts denounce impeachment as a political stunt and a misuse of power
The House Democrats and the Biden administration have dismissed the impeachment inquiry as a “sham” and a “political stunt” that has no merit or evidence. They have defended Mayorkas as a dedicated and experienced public servant who has been working hard to address the complex and longstanding challenges at the border. They have also pointed out that the impeachment process is not meant to be used for policy disagreements or partisan attacks, but for serious offenses that threaten the integrity of the government.
One of the witnesses at the hearing, Deborah Pearlstein, a law professor at Princeton University, testified that the impeachment of Mayorkas is “constitutionally inappropriate” and “legally baseless”. She said that policy differences, no matter how profound, are not grounds for impeachment, and that Congress has the power to change the law or the budget if it disagrees with the executive branch. She also warned that impeaching Mayorkas would set a dangerous precedent and undermine the stability and legitimacy of the government.
The impeachment of Mayorkas is unlikely to succeed but could have political implications
The impeachment of Mayorkas is unlikely to succeed, as it would require the support of two-thirds of the Senate, where Democrats have a slim majority. However, the impeachment effort could have political implications, as it reflects the intensity of the Republican opposition to the Biden administration and its immigration agenda. It also shows the importance of the border issue for the upcoming midterm elections and the presidential race in 2024, where former President Donald Trump is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination and has vowed to launch the “largest deportation operation” in U.S. history if he returns to the White House.
The impeachment of Mayorkas is the first of its kind for a Cabinet official in nearly 150 years. The last Cabinet official to be impeached was Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876, who was accused of corruption and resigned before the Senate trial.