House Republicans vote to impeach DHS head Alejandro Mayorkas over border security

House Republicans on Tuesday voted to impeach Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas over the Biden administration's handling of the U.S. southern border. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
1 of 4 | House Republicans on Tuesday voted to impeach Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas over the Biden administration's handling of the U.S. southern border. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 13 (UPI) -- House Republicans voted to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday, over his handling of the U.S. border with Mexico, as Democrats derided the effort as a baseless political stunt.

Republicans narrowly passed the impeachment articles in a 214-213 vote along party lines with no Democrat jumping the aisle. Three Republicans voted with Democrats to keep the first refugee and first Latino head of the federal department at his post.


The two impeachment articles leveled against Mayorkas accuse him of "willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law" and "breach of public trust."

President Joe Biden and his Democrats have condemned the move as a political stunt, while some Republicans have voiced opposition to the efforts, including Rep. Tom McClintock of California who in a memo last week to his GOP colleagues wrote that "they fail to identify an impeachable crime that Mayorkas has committed."


"House Republicans will be remembered by history for trampling on the Constitution for political gain rather than working to solve the serious challenges at our border," Homeland Security spokesperson Mia Ehrenberg told UPI in a statement.

"Without a shred of evidence or legitimate Constitutional grounds, and despite bipartisan opposition, House Republicans have falsely smeared a dedicated public servant who has spent more than 20 years enforcing our laws and serving our country."

In announcing the vote, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., defended the GOP effort by stating Mayorkas "deserves to be impeached and Congress has a constitutional obligation to do so."

"Secretary Mayorkas has willfully and consistently refused to comply with federal immigration laws, fueling the worst border catastrophe in American history," Johnson said in a statement Tuesday night.

"He has undermined public trust through multiple false statements to Congress, obstructed lawful oversight of the Department of Homeland Security, and violated his oath of office."

The last time a cabinet secretary was impeached was in 1876 when William Belknap was removed from his position as war secretary. Mayorkas is unlikely to face the same fate as the articles must now pass the Democrat-controlled Senate.


Border security and policies under the Biden administration have been a consistent point of attack for Republicans who have increased their rhetorical volleys during an election year where immigration is the primary campaign issue for the party's leading candidate, former President Donald Trump. Tuesday's vote was the second attempt in two weeks by Republicans to oust Mayorkas after they failed to pass impeachment articles on Feb. 6.

"History will not look kindly on House Republicans for their blatant act of unconstitutional partisanship that has targeted an honorable public servant in order to play petty political games," Biden said in a statement Tuesday night.

The impeachment effort comes as the White House has been pushing for Congress to pass national security legislation that includes funding and stricter border policies that were negotiated with Republicans who then voted against the bill last week following criticism from Johnson and Trump.

"Instead of staging political stunts like this, Republicans with genuine concerns about the border should want Congress to deliver more border resources and stronger border security," Biden said.

"Sadly, the same Republicans pushing this baseless impeachment are rejecting bipartisan plans Secretary Mayorkas and others in my administration have worked hard on to strengthen border security at this very moment -- reversing from years of their own demands to pass stronger border bills. Giving up on real solutions right when they are needed most in order to play politics is not what the American people expect from their leaders."


The Democrat's House Homeland Security Committee chastised Tuesday's vote as a "sham" that will do nothing to improve conditions at the southern border.

"They threw the integrity of the House, the Constitution, as well as any glimmer of hope of working together, under the bus," ranking committee member Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in a statement.

"I urge the Senate to reject this impeachment. And I'm sure they will."

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the main author of the impeachment articles, described the vote to reporters Tuesday night as sending a message to the Biden administration that "it's our border that matters, not other countries' borders" and that Republicans can pass legislation when they work together.

"My message to the Senate is they should look at the polling, and they know that our border security is the number one issue in every single campaign, in every single state, and every single city and every single community," the Georgia Republican said.

Greene and several others have been appointed impeachment managers, who will argue the case to oust Mayorkas in the Senate where the office of majority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement the impeachment articles would be taken up on Feb. 26.


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