On Sunday, House Republicans took a significant step by unveiling articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The accusations include charges of a “breach of trust” and a “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law.”
The move sets the stage for a vote in the Homeland Security Committee, scheduled for Tuesday and led by Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), where Republicans are anticipated to push the impeachment effort forward along party lines.
If the committee approves the resolution, the House could potentially vote on impeachment as early as the week of February 5, depending on the presence of members and the ability of Republicans to secure support from undecided colleagues.
If the House passes the resolution, it would mark a historic and rare event, as a Cabinet official hasn’t been impeached since Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876. However, the likelihood of a conviction in the Senate appears slim.
The articles of impeachment are the result of a lengthy investigation into Mayorkas, which, at times, seemed stalled as Republicans shifted their focus to investigating President Joe Biden last year. Two impeachment-related hearings were held earlier this month to build a case for Mayorkas’s impeachment.
The first article accuses Mayorkas of refusing to comply with the law, alleging that he failed to uphold immigration laws, exceeded his authority, and jeopardized public safety.
The second article, breach of trust, accuses him of making false statements to Congress, obstructing congressional oversight, and terminating construction on the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Some of the criticisms within the articles have been previously voiced. Republicans have long accused Mayorkas of misleading Congress regarding the operational control of the border, a claim he contests by arguing a difference in the statutory definition.
The department has consistently denied GOP allegations of obstruction, citing its cooperation with hearings, closed-door interviews, and document submission.
The timing of the impeachment articles coincides with the Senate’s potential vote on a bipartisan deal linking new border restrictions to funding for Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel. Former President Donald Trump has criticized the deal, and House Speaker Mike Johnson has warned that it could face challenges in the House depending on the details.
The push to impeach Mayorkas has faced criticism from Democrats, legal experts, and even some within the GOP who question whether the accusations rise to the level of high crimes or misdemeanors, the constitutional standard for impeachment.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the top Democrat on the panel, expressed concern about the lack of a genuine charge or evidence of high crimes or misdemeanors in the articles.
In response to the impeachment articles, the Department of Homeland Security issued a four-page memo characterizing Tuesday’s committee vote as “just more of the same political games” from Republicans, dismissing the effort as a distraction from important national security priorities and the necessary work on immigration laws.