WASHINGTON — Members of the House Homeland Security Committee will meet Tuesday to discuss the Republican-led articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
House Republicans accuse Mayorkas and the Biden administration of flouting federal laws on immigration and seek to make Mayorkas the second cabinet official to be impeached in US history. Tuesday's hearing is another step toward a formal vote to impeach Mayorkas in the full House, which could come as soon as next week, a source close to the impeachment proceedings said.
Mayors and Democrats have pushed back against the impeachment effort, arguing it was political.
According to the first article of impeachment filed by House Republicans, Mayorkas “willfully and systematically refused to comply with federal immigration laws.” Republicans accuse Mayorkas of allowing millions of people to enter the country illegally while “many remain illegally” in the United States.
A second article of indictment accuses him of violating the “public trust” and “knowingly” obstructing the “lawful oversight of the Department of Homeland Security.”
The chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Mark Greene, R-Tenn., opened the hearing on Tuesday, saying Mayorkas “willfully and systematically refused to comply with laws passed by Congress and violated the trust of Congress and the American people. The results have been catastrophic and have endangered the lives and livelihoods of all Americans.”
Referring to the allegations against Donald Trump in the last Congress, Green said the group was “careful” in its methods. “Today is a monumental day. We do not approach this day or this process lightly. Secretary Mayorkas' actions have forced our hand,” he said.
Rep. Penny Thompson, D-Miss., the top Democrat on the caucus, said in her own opening statement, “This is a terrible day for the caucus, for the American Constitution, and for our great country. … The bogus impeachment is a baseless political stunt by extreme MAGA Republicans.” “
“In an act of throwing cheerleaders at the wall and looking for sticks, Republicans have cooked up vague, unprecedented reasons to fire Secretary Mayoress,” Thompson continued. Refusal to obey the law and breach of public trust – none of the charges the Committee is considering today is a capital offense and a misdemeanor under Article Two of the Constitution.
Asked before the trial whether the charges against Mayorgas met the requirements for impeachment, Green replied: “Absolutely.”
Green said he expects “a lot of procedural motions” at Tuesday's hearing, which is expected to last several hours, and “a united front from our side.”
Mayorkas fired back in a letter to Greene early Tuesday, accusing him of testifying before the committee seven times and ignoring his offer to testify again on another date.
“The problems with our broken and outdated immigration system are not new. … Our immigration laws are not built for 21st century migration patterns,” Mayorkas wrote, noting that he has been engaged in bipartisan talks with senators to reach an agreement on changes to immigration and asylum laws.
“You say we have failed to enforce our immigration laws. That's false,” he wrote, adding that DHS has provided Congress with “witnesses, thousands of documents, hundreds of briefings and other information that makes very clear how we enforce the law.”
In data the department shared with House Republicans, Mayorkas wrote that the Biden administration “removed, returned or deported more immigrants in three years than the previous administration did in four years.”
Green responded to Mayorkas' letter on Tuesday morning, saying the “11th-hour response to the committee was inadequate and unbecoming of a cabinet secretary.”
The articles of impeachment come at the end of a yearlong investigation by Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee into the situation on the southern border.
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, a member of the committee, said Mayorkas failed to uphold “his own oath of office to defend the nation from all enemies foreign and domestic.”
The representative tried twice last year to introduce bills to impeach the mayor. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, R-Ga., said Monday that Republicans “have all the evidence that Mayorgas willfully violated his oath of office. … We're going to impeach him tomorrow.
Democrats on the panel released a statement Monday accusing Republicans of “abusing Congress' impeachment power.”
“The Republicans' baseless investigation of Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is a politically motivated sham to appease radical MAGA members and nonpartisan special interest groups,” the Democrats said in a statement.
Michael ChertoffFormer Secretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush, and Constitutional scholars The GOP has also argued in recent days that the investigation has not hit the impeachment threshold.
“If the impeachment clause could speak, Republicans would be begging to stop shaming its name,” said Rep. Dan Goldman, DNY, who was the lead Democratic impeachment attorney during the first impeachment against Donald Trump before he ran. Congress. “No betrayal. No bribe. No more crime and misbehavior.
Goldman, now on the Homeland Security Committee, argued that “impeachment is not done by the Judiciary Committee because that committee requires due process and there was no due process here.”
Democrats have repeatedly argued that Republicans oppose the new border policy, which Mayorkas says would help broker negotiations between senators and the administration, because the bill would benefit President Joe Biden in the 2024 election.
“They know there's a bill that could provide new legislation to help us on the southwest border. President Trump and many House Republicans are fighting it because they think it will give President Biden some advantage at the polls,” said Rep. Glenn Ivey, D-Md. .
Asked when the full House would vote on impeachment against Mayorkas, Green said Monday that it was “scheduled” and would happen “soon.”
Some moderate Republicans said Tuesday they would support impeachment of Mayorkas. “I wanted to do so because we have a disaster at the border. And I would say there are a lot of laws on the books that he could have enacted or implemented, but he hasn't,” Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., said.
Rep. Nick LaLotta, a New York moderate, also plans to impeach Mayorkas. “He has failed in his duty. He has broken the trust of the people. He has violated the laws of this Congress. … He must go,” LaLotta said.
Mayorkas wrote a letter to Greene on Tuesday that emotionally ended his public service career, noting that his parents brought him to the U.S. from Cuba and instilled in him a “respect for law enforcement” that led him to lead DHS.
“I assure you that your false accusations will not disturb me or distract me from the law enforcement and broader public service work to which I have devoted much of my career and to which I remain committed,” he wrote.