The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly defeated an effort on Feb. 6 to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by a vote of 214-216. Nearly every House Republican voted for the resolution despite presenting no evidence that he committed high crimes and misdemeanors.
The resolution, authored by Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, did not specify any actual illegal acts, instead accusing him of “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and “breach of the public trust.”
All 212 Democrats and Republican Reps. Ken Buck (CO), Mike Gallagher (WI), and Tom McClintock (CA) voted no. House Republican Caucus Chair Blake Moore (UT) also backed the effort, but switched his vote to no at the last minute for procedural reasons, allowing him to move to reconsider and potentially force another vote later.
Republicans charge that Mayorkas failed to follow the law when he and his team issued guidelines in 2021 to prioritize in immigration law enforcement “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.” Congress has failed to enact comprehensive immigration reform, and border security agents have been stretched thin by an immigration spike that began in 2005.
California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock said in a Feb. 6 letter to colleagues that the articles of impeachment “fail to identify an impeachable crime that Mayorkas has committed.”
No Cabinet secretary has been impeached since 1876.
The impeachment attempt came as the Republican majority in the House has struggled to enact the legislation promised in its 2022 “Commitment to America” to boost the economy, protect public safety, protect freedom, and hold the government accountable. Mired in intraparty fighting, it passed almost no legislation in 2023 and saw just 34 bills and resolutions become law in the entire year — well below the average in recent decades.
Trump was impeached in 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to his attempts to delay security aid to Ukraine in an effort to pressure its government to dig up dirt on his political opponents. He was again impeached in 2021 on charges of inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. In both cases, he was acquitted by the Senate.
Bergman opposed both impeachments of Trump. “This entire impeachment process has been purely partisan — lacking the integrity, due process, and fairness that the President and the people of the United States deserve,” he said in a December 2019 statement.
“Today’s vote to impeach the President, without even a single hearing, is unprecedented and simply more of the same divisiveness – making no effort to heal our wounds,” he said in January 2021. “It’s time for our Nation to move forward to find solutions to our problems, continue our efforts to protect our liberties, and build on our collective successes.”
“Enough is enough,” Bergman tweeted on Feb. 5. “Shut down the border, impeach Mayorkas, and fire Joe Biden in November.”
“Our nation’s founders warned about using impeachment as a political weapon,” said Huizenga in December 2019. “Today, Speaker Pelosi ignored those warnings and the House proceeded with the most partisan and divisive impeachment vote in the history of our nation. The Democrats’ endless drive to impeach this President has further divided our nation and damaged the House of Representatives as an institution of government.
“With days remaining in President Trump’s term, impeachment further divides our nation and prevents us from coming together,” he said in a January 2021 statement. “West Michigan expects Congress to move forward and tackle the many issues we face as a nation.”
In November 2023, Huizenga backed the impeachment of Mayorkas, citing “his failure to uphold his oath to faithfully execute the laws of the United States.”
Days after taking office, McClain opposed the January 2021 Trump impeachment. “We all have the same name on our jersey which is United States of America. Why don’t we start acting like it and let our actions follow our words? All of us,” she said in a floor speech. “Impeachment only incites more division. I’m ready to come together – are you?”
“President Trump had the border secured. Under Secretary Mayorkas, America’s border security has crumbled,” she tweeted on Jan. 30. “A Secretary of Homeland Security who cannot defend the homeland does not deserve to remain in office. It’s past time we impeached Sec. Mayorkas.”
“Today, they continue to push for impeachment while putting the real concerns of hardworking Michigan residents on the backburner,” Moolear said in December 2019, citing his legislative priorities. “The delays and inaction on these key priorities creates uncertainty for those serving our nation, and these vital issues deserve to be finished instead of House Democrats’ partisan push for impeachment.”
“House Democrats are so obsessed with impeaching President Trump and trying to undermine the Trump administration that they are doing nothing to fix real problems Americans care about, like border security,” Walberg said in a November 2019 op-ed. “Now, instead of working on a bipartisan basis to both secure the border and prevent a humanitarian crisis from happening again, House Democrats are focusing all their energy on trying to impeach the president. It’s shameful that they are putting a partisan exercise over our national security.”
In January 2021, he said impeachment “will only deepen the nation’s divisions at a time of heightened turmoil,” writing, “America witnessed sickening violence at the U.S. Capitol last week that we must universally condemn. In wake of the mayhem, we cannot retreat to our partisan corners. In this moment, we should find ways to bridge the divide and commit to dialing back the political rhetoric.”
John James was not yet in Congress at the time of the Trump impeachment votes, but denounced the 2019 vote as “not about the rule of law, it’s about revenge.”
As secretary, Mayorkas has focused much of his efforts on protecting the safety of religious communities in Michigan.
“Whether it’s facilitating efficient trade and travel at our airports and Northern Border crossings, ensuring our houses of worship are safe from terrorist attacks, or preventing illegal drugs from reaching our communities – the Department of Homeland Security’s work affects every Michigander’s daily life,” Democratic Sen Gary Peters said in March 2022. “I am grateful to Secretary Mayorkas for committing his time to meet with Michiganders.”