Two hundred and one House Republicans nearly impeached Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas for high crimes and misdemeanors on Nov. 13, despite providing no evidence of crimes. In voting, 201 Democrats and eight Republicans postponed consideration of an impeachment resolution introduced by Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene by sending it to committee for more review.
Greene took advantage of House rules to force consideration of her privileged resolution, in which she charged that Mayorkas “in his inability to enforce the law, has engaged in a pattern of conduct that is incompatible with his duties as a civil officer of the United States” and “in his failure to uphold the oath he took, has, by his actions, lost the trust of citizens of the United States to faithfully execute the laws of the United States.”
Democratic Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-CA) moved to block the resolution by sending it to the Committee on Homeland Security, and her motion passed 209-201.
Michigan Republican Reps. Jack Berman, Bill Huizenga, John James, Lisa McClain, John Moolenaar, and Tim Walberg all voted with Greene in support of the impeachment effort. Democratic Reps. Debbie Dingell, Dan Kildee, Hillary Scholten, Elissa Slotkin, Haley Stevens, Shri Thanedar, and Rashida Tlaib voted to block it.
With a strong U.S. economy along with global economic and environmental stressors, the United States has seen increasing levels of immigration since 2005. Because Congress has refused to enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation, Mayorkas and his team in 2021 announced guidelines for the enforcement of current immigration law that prioritize “the apprehension and removal of noncitizens who are a threat to our national security, public safety, and border security and advance the interests of justice by ensuring a case-by-case assessment of whether an individual poses a threat.”
In an 8-1 ruling authored by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the U.S. Supreme Court made clear in June that such prioritization is within Mayorkas’ purview: “The principle of Executive Branch enforcement discretion over arrests and prosecutions extends to the immigration context. Courts also generally lack meaningful standards for assessing the propriety of enforcement choices in this area, which are invariably affected by resource constraints and regularly changing public-safety and public-welfare needs.”
Greene’s impeachment resolution actually cites the Biden administration’s success at stopping criminals at the border as a reason for Mayorkas’ removal from office. Its text includes among those stopped trying to cross into the United States since Mayorkas became homeland security secretary “at least 280 people on terrorist watchlists caught while attempting to cross the border between ports of entry.”
The resolution notes Mayorkas’ success in blocking the importation of deadly drugs: “In fiscal year 2021, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) seized approximately 11,200 pounds of fentanyl. In fiscal year 2022, CBP seized approximately 14,700 pounds of fentanyl. In fiscal year 2023, CBP has seized a record of approximately 27,000 pounds of fentanyl.”
In a press statement, a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson responded to the impeachment effort, “While the House Majority has wasted months trying to score points with baseless attacks, Secretary Mayorkas has been doing his job and working to keep Americans safe.”
House Republicans accused Democrats of wasting time when they impeached President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power connected with U.S. aid to Ukraine and on charges connected with his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
“Throw the impeachment trial out! It’s a scam. It’s a lie. It’s an embarrassment. It’s a waste of time. It’s another waste of hard earned tax payer dollars. The Impeachment Sham is pathetic and so are the Democrats shoving this down America’s throat,” Greene tweeted in January 2020.
“History will remember that the only bipartisan vote today was against impeachment. Our Founding Fathers never intended impeachment to be a one-sided, political weapon,” said Walberg in a 2019 press release. “The American people are tired of this charade and they don’t trust the outcome. As representatives, we have important pocketbook issues to tackle, and improving the lives of our constituents is where our focus should be.”