Alejandro Mayorkas: House Republicans fails to impeach US homeland security secretary

Alejandro Mayorkas: House Republicans fails to impeach US homeland security secretary
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro MayorkasGetty Images

The Republican-led House of Representatives has failed in a knife-edge vote to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over the migrant crisis at the US-Mexico border.

Four Republicans broke ranks and joined all Democratic members of the chamber to vote 216-214 against the measure.

Opponents of US President Joe Biden blame Mr Mayorkas for a surge in illegal immigration at the border.

Border security is becoming a top political issue in the 2024 election.

Three Republicans, Ken Buck of Colorado, Tom McClintock of California and Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, voted no on Tuesday evening.

A fourth, Blake Moore of Utah, switched his vote from yes to no, possibly for procedural reasons.

Even if the House had passed the vote, Mr Mayorkas was unlikely to have been found guilty by the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The impeachment proceedings were initiated by Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, and after the vote she said she would try again.

“My colleagues who voted no, I think they’ll be hearing from their constituents,” she told reporters outside the Capitol.

Signs of dissent among Republicans had surfaced earlier in the day.

William Belknap

Library of Congress

Mr McClintock said on Tuesday morning he would vote against impeachment as the measures “fail to identify an impeachable crime that Mayorkas has committed” and “stretch and distort the Constitution”.

Impeachment, a process set out in the US Constitution, is the first step in removing a federal official for a high crime or misdemeanour.

It results in a removal from office only if two-thirds of senators vote in favour. Democrats currently have a slight majority in the Senate.

The last cabinet secretary to be impeached was Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876, though he resigned shortly before the vote.

A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman said in a statement: “This baseless impeachment should never have moved forward; it faces bipartisan opposition and legal experts resoundingly say it is unconstitutional.

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“If House Republicans are serious about border security, they should abandon these political games,” it added.

House Republicans held two hearings in January and charged Mr Mayorkas with failing to enforce immigration policies and lying to lawmakers about whether the southern border was secure.

The secretary did not testify during the hearings.

A January poll conducted by CBS – the BBC’s US partner – suggests that nearly half of Americans view the situation at the border as a crisis, with 63% saying that the administration should adopt “tougher” policies.

Migrant numbers graphic

More than 6.3 million migrants are known to have entered the US illegally since Mr Biden took office in 2021.

About 2.4 million were allowed into the US, where the majority wait for immigration court dates in which they can make a case for asylum. The system is so overwhelmed that this can take years.

This week, a bipartisan group of US senators announced a bill that would step up border enforcement efforts as well as provide additional aid for Ukraine and Israel.

House Republicans, however, have rejected the bill outright.


By David Ryckman