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House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for ‘willful, systemic refusal’ to follow fed law, ‘secure’ US-Mexico border

house-impeaches-homeland-security-secretary-alejandro-mayorkas-for-‘willful,-systemic-refusal’-to-follow-fed-law,-‘secure’-us-mexico-border
House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for ‘willful, systemic refusal’ to follow fed law, ‘secure’ US-Mexico border

House Republicans impeached Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday, reversing their failed vote on the extraordinary move a week ago — and setting up a showdown in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The House voted 214-213 to pass two articles of impeachment against President Biden’s chief border enforcement officer on charges of “willful and systemic refusal to comply” with federal immigration law and lying to Congress about the border being “secure.”

Mayorkas, 64, is only the second Cabinet official to be impeached after Secretary of War William Belknap, who resigned in 1876 from President Ulysses S. Grant’s administration hours before the House formally charged him with corruption.

Belknap was later acquitted by the Senate — an outcome also likely for Mayorkas given that politically vulnerable Senate Democrats such as Jon Tester of Montana have dismissed the House’s impeachment push as “political games.”

But some Republicans in the Senate — which puts individuals on trial if they are impeached, or charged, by the House — are vowing to make the case for removal nonetheless.

“There will absolutely be many who believe his case merits removal from office and will vote accordingly,” a Senate GOP aide told The Post. “Since Democrats control the chamber, however, it’s basically certain that the vote will fail — if [Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer [D-NY] allows it to happen in the first place.”

“There has never in American history been an impeachment where the Senate has refused to vote on the matter,” the aide added. “If Schumer kills it procedurally, without a vote, it would be unprecedented.”

House Republicans voted to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday night.

House Republicans voted to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday night. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has already named 11 GOP impeachment managers to make the case for conviction during a Senate trial: House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green (Tenn.) and Reps. Michael Guest (Miss.), Michael McCaul (Texas), August Pfluger (Texas), Clay Higgins (La.), Ben Cline (Va.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Andrew Garbarino (NY), Harriet Hageman (Wyo.), Laurel Lee (Fla.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), who authored the resolution.

Three Republicans — Reps. Ken Buck (Colo.), Tom McClintock (Calif.) and Mike Gallagher (Wis.) — opposed the resolution both this week and last week, but no other GOP lawmakers joined them on the subsequent vote.

The first impeachment attempt failed because of the surprise appearance of Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), who had been recovering from intestinal surgery — but rolled onto the floor minutes before the vote in a wheelchair to vote “no.”

Migrants waiting to be processed at a Customs and Border Protection station near the border in Sasabe, Arizona on Feb. 11, 2024.

Migrants waiting to be processed at a Customs and Border Protection station near the border in Sasabe, Arizona on Feb. 11, 2024. James Keivom

With the return this week of Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), who had been absent while receiving stem cell treatments for blood cancer, House Republicans could afford to lose three members and still impeach Mayorkas.

“You can only do so much by phone,” Scalise told “Fox News” on Tuesday, mentioning an unexpected snowstorm that had slightly complicated matters.

“You always talk to the whip, and he keeps track of, you know, whose planes are delayed and all that stuff,” Scalise said, referring to House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), who helps get motions to the floor for a vote. “But I mean, you know, we plan on moving forward with it.”

The Department of Homeland Security released a memo early Tuesday denouncing the GOP’s impeachment “stunt,” as Buck put it, and referencing other remarks that McClintock and Gallagher made in opposition.

Republican lawmakers claimed that Mayorkas lied to Congress about the border being

Republican lawmakers claimed that Mayorkas lied to Congress about the border being “secure.” Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

The memo also cited Republican senators such as Mitt Romney of Utah and James Lankford of Oklahoma who echoed those criticisms and declared the resolution “dead on arrival” in the upper chamber.

Buck and McClintock made their conference aware of their position well before both votes, arguing that Mayorkas’ conduct had not risen to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” outlined as the basis for impeachment in the Constitution.

So did Gallagher, whose spokesman told The Post before Tuesday’s vote that “his position hasn’t changed” since last Tuesday, pointing to the congressman’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal defending his decision.

A man in a suit and tie talking to reporters as he returns to his office at the U.S. Capitol.

House Speaker Mike Johnson has already named 11 GOP impeachment managers for the Senate trial. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

“Impeachment not only would fail to resolve Mr. Biden’s border crisis but would also set a dangerous new precedent that would be used against future Republican administrations,” Gallagher wrote, before noting GOP lawmakers had voted against “single-party” impeachments of former President Donald Trump in 2019 and 2021.

“The person chiefly responsible for the chaos and devastation that has unfolded at the border is Mr. Biden, not Mr. Mayorkas,” he said. “If Mr. Mayorkas were removed, his replacement would also implement Mr. Biden’s disastrous border policies. If anything, impeaching Mr. Mayorkas would absolve Mr. Biden of blame for his own policies.”

The DHS memo further pointed to statements of opposition by federal officials in the George W. Bush administration and the assessment of 25 legal scholars that as a matter of constitutional law the impeachment was “utterly unjustified” — an argument echoed by House Democrats.

The House impeachment bill, H.Res.863, alleges that Mayorkas failed to enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 and the Secure Fence Act of 2006, while lying in testimony to Congress about having “operational control” of the border.

After releasing a Sept. 30, 2021, memo that watered down rules for detaining and expelling migrants, Mayorkas allowed his department to institute a de facto “catch and release” policy for millions of illegal border crossers, according to the resolution.

That has led to a backlog of more than 3 million cases of asylum seekers in the US, the resolution notes.

Since Biden took office, more than 8.5 million migrants have been apprehended by US Customs and Border Protection — with 7 million of those encounters occurring on the southern border.

Another 1.8 million known “gotaways” have evaded arrest when coming into the country.

The Senate had briefly considered a bipartisan package to address border enforcement issues — but that was killed under pressure from GOP border hawks the day after the House botched its first impeachment vote.

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