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Senate Dismisses One Impeachment Article Against Mayorkas

Alejandro Mayorkas (Credits: AP News)

The Senate has voted to dismiss the first of two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, marking the initial step toward concluding the trial regarding his handling of the U.S.-Mexico border situation.

Democrats argued that the first article, which accused Mayorkas of a “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law,” was unconstitutional. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has called for a subsequent vote to dismiss the second article, which accuses Mayorkas of breaching trust by asserting that the border was secure.

The dismissal of the first article passed by a 51-48 vote along party lines, with Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voting “present.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (Credits: The Hill)

If the Senate proceeds to dismiss both articles, the trial will end before arguments commence. Schumer emphasized that the House Republicans’ case failed to meet the constitutional standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and warned that it could establish a perilous precedent.

House Republicans impeached Mayorkas in February, alleging that he “willfully and systematically” neglected to enforce immigration laws. House impeachment managers presented the charges to the Senate on Tuesday, reading them aloud to senators.

An outright dismissal without a trial would be a serious setback for House Republicans and House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., who prioritized the impeachment. This outcome is likely to have political repercussions for both Republicans and Democrats, particularly in a presidential election year where border security is a prominent issue.

While most Republicans oppose immediate dismissal, some have suggested they might vote with Democrats. Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, expressed uncertainty about how he would vote, emphasizing that Mayorkas has done poorly but has not met the constitutional threshold for impeachment.

Mayorkas (Credits: CNN)

Mayorkas, who was in New York City for a campaign on children’s online safety, reiterated his focus on his department’s work despite the Senate proceedings.

The two articles of impeachment assert that Mayorkas failed to enforce existing law and breached public trust by misleading Congress about border security. This marks the first time in nearly 150 years that a Cabinet secretary has been impeached.

The impeachment trial, the third in five years, could potentially result in a prolonged process involving senators’ uninterrupted presence for weeks. However, Democrats may prefer to conclude the proceedings entirely, particularly in a presidential election year dominated by immigration and border security issues.

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