NEWS: Mayorkas impeachment articles sent to House floor by Rules Committee
The House Rules Committee approved impeachment articles against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday, teeing up a potentially close floor vote tomorrow as the chamber’s narrow Republican majority must work to convince its holdout members.
The Republican majority on the panel led by Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) passed the resolution over Democratic objections in an 8-4 vote, affirming Mayorkas’ “willful and systemic refusal to comply” with immigration laws and breach of public trust for testifying to Congress last year that the US border was “secure.”
“The resolution before us is about accountability,” Cole said in his opening remarks. “I take no pleasure in our actions today. But Secretary Mayorkas’ actions – both in his intentional refusal to enforce our laws and abandoning the confidence of Americans– require us to act.”
“Secretary Mayorkas has refused to uphold his oath of office. If he will not do his duty, then unfortunately, the House must do its constitutional duty,” he added.
The House Homeland Security Committee voted in favor of the resolution along party lines early Wednesday morning, following a 15-hour-long effort by Democrats to halt the proceedings and introduce other amendments.
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) pledged in his first floor speech last week that Republicans would be “moving forward swiftly” to pass the articles, which will make Mayorkas the second Cabinet official in US history to be impeached.
That verdict also appears likely for President Biden’s top border enforcement officer, given that Democrats control the Senate and none have expressed a willingness to convict Mayorkas on either article.
House Republicans currently have a one-vote majority in the lower chamber, given Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana’s absence due to cancer treatments and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) recovery from a car accident.
Moderate members like Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), who was previously undecided, have publicly committed in recent weeks to voting “yes” on the resolution, which is scheduled for a full House vote on Tuesday.
Some Democrats — including Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas and Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania — have called out the growing “crisis” at the southern border.
Cuellar told The Post last week that he would not vote to impeach Mayorkas.
In his fiery floor speech, Johnson declared that the Biden-Mayorkas border policy was “absolute madness” and posed a “clear and present danger” to the US unless it could be ground to a halt.
During Monday’s hearing, House Homeland Security Committee chairman Mark Green (R-Tenn.), presented the articles and vowed if the secretary “were a Republican, I would be doing the exact same thing,” responding to Democratic objections that the impeachment was a partisan stunt.
He added that former President Richard Nixon also faced an impeachment inquiry that did not identify specific crimes, while Democrats have claimed throughout the process that Mayorkas could not be charged for his conduct.
House Homeland Security Committee ranking member Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) responded that the resolution was “a betrayal of the committee’s bipartisan record since it was established in the wake of 9/11.”
“Republicans have failed to make a constitutionally viable case,” he said, calling the resulting resolution a “sham impeachment” that did not rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors as laid out in the Constitution.
Thompson further pointed to the issue having “already been addressed in the courts and decided in the Biden administration’s favor,” citing the Supreme Court’s decision last year in United States v. Texas, or else it is being worked through the legal process.
The bill faults Mayorkas for having “significantly contributed to unprecedented levels of illegal entrants, the increased control of the Southwest border by drug cartels and the imposition of enormous costs on States and localities affected by the influx of aliens.”
Specifically, it claims the Homeland Security secretary implemented de facto “catch and release” policies by failing to uphold the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, leading to more than 8.5 million encounters with migrants by US Customs and Border Protection since President Biden took office in January 2021.
At least 7 million of those apprehensions occurred on the southern border, CBP data show, breaking the record three years in a row.
In a Sept. 30, 2021, memo, Mayorkas put forward guidelines to water down enforcement and other “effective mechanisms” to detain migrants and require them to show up for subsequent court hearings on their asylum claims.
Other policies have increased humanitarian parole “en masse,” rather than the “case-by-case basis” required by federal law, it states, with up to 30,000 migrants allowed in every month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela to await their US asylum hearings.
The crossings are “creating a fiscal and humanitarian crisis and dramatically degrading the quality of life of the residents” in border towns and several Democratic-run sanctuary cities like New York, the resolution adds.
“For instance, since 2022, more than 150,000 migrants have gone through New York City’s shelter intake system. Indeed the Mayor of New York City has said that ‘we are past our breaking point’ and that ‘[t]his issue will destroy New York City,’” it reads.
“In fiscal year 2023, New York City spent $1,450,000,000 addressing Alejandro N. Mayorkas’s migrant crisis, and city officials fear it will spend another $12,000,000,000 over the following three fiscal years, causing painful budget cuts to important city services.”
Fentanyl seizures have skyrocketed from around 4,800 pounds in fiscal year 2020 to 27,000 in 2023 — making it “now the number one killer of Americans between the ages of 18 and 45,” according to the resolution.
And at least 361 border crossers have also popped up on the terror watch list during his time in office, it further states, and Mexican cartels have benefitted from a cash windfall through their “smuggling operations” of roughly $13 billion as of 2022 — up from $500 million just four years prior.
The second impeachment article accuses Mayorkas of having “knowingly made false statements, and knowingly obstructed lawful oversight of the Department of Homeland Security” by evading congressional records requests.
It cites several statements during hearings last year before Congress in which he stated the border was “secure” and “closed,” as well as that his agency had “operational control” of the border as defined by the Secure Fence Act of 2006.
The latter article also cites the secretary’s refusal to enforce the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, known as the Remain in Mexico policy, which required migrants to await asylum hearings south of the US border.
If passed, the Senate will have to immediately begin trial proceedings with several House GOP impeachment managers, as it also seeks to pass a new border security bill that addresses issues related to asylum and parole.