A House Republican on a key immigration subcommittee announced Tuesday that he will vote against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, dealing a significant blow to GOP efforts to impeach the Biden official ahead of a vote expected later in the day.
“The only way to stop the border invasion is to replace the Biden administration at the ballot box. Swapping one leftist for another is a fantasy, solves nothing, excuses Biden’s culpability, and unconstitutionally expands impeachment that someday will bite Republicans,” Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., who heads the Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Later on the House floor, he called it a “stunt.”
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The House is expected to vote later on two articles of impeachment, which accuse Mayorkas of having “repeatedly violated laws enacted by Congress regarding immigration and border security” and of having “made false statements to Congress” that the border is secure and closed and that DHS is in operational control of the border.
McClintock’s “no” joins that of Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo. Digital is also told that Rep, Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., also raised concerns about impeaching Mayorkas at a closed-door meeting of the House Republican Conference. The House majority is slim and Republicans can only afford three defections if all lawmakers are present and all Democrats vote against impeachment.
Should the impeachment push fail, it would signify an enormous blow to House Republicans who spent much of 2023 investigating Mayorkas for his handling of the crisis at the southern border, before referring articles to the House Homeland Security Committee late last year.
The committee advanced the two articles last week. If Mayorkas is impeached, then it will go to the Senate for a trial.
Speaker Mike Johnson said that he had spoken to McClintock and Buck about their objections to the move to impeach the Cabinet Secretary — which would make it the first impeachment since 1876.
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” I respect everybody’s view. I understand the heavy weight that impeachment is…next to the declaration of war, I believe impeachment is probably the heaviest authority that the House has given in the Constitution,” he said. “We carry that weight very carefully. What I will say about this Mayorkas impeachment is that the Homeland Security Committee has done an extraordinary job, a very deliberate job as you know over a long period of time.
Republicans have accused Mayorkas and the administration of fueling the crisis with “open border” policies including “catch-and-release,” reduced interior enforcement and the rolling back of Trump-era policies they believe helped secure the border. They also accuse Mayorkas of not following immigration law, which they say demands the detention of illegal immigrants, and of failing to secure the border. Mayorkas has vigorously denied those claims.
“The constitutional case and evidence for impeaching Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is strong and compelling,” Committee Chair Mark Green said in an op-ed for The Washington Examiner this week. “My committee’s nearly year-long investigation identified Secretary Mayorkas’ willful and systemic refusal to comply with U.S. immigration laws and his breach of the public trust as the primary drivers of the unprecedented crisis at America’s borders.”
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But the process has come under fire from the Department of Homeland Security, as well as House Democrats and some Republicans. They see a pre-determined politically motivated push for impeachment based on policy disagreements rather than high crimes and misdemeanors, and the Biden administration has instead pointed to efforts made to secure the border by Mayorkas — including his role in a bipartisan Senate deal released this week. They have also pointed to more than 500,000 removals since May and record seizures of fentanyl at the border.
“House Republicans have failed to provide any legitimate Constitutional grounds for impeachment according to countless legal experts of diverse political views, House Republicans’ own prior impeachment witness, and their fellow GOP Members,” DHS officials said in a recent memo.
Mayorkas himself defended himself against impeachment last week in a letter to Republicans, in which he slammed the allegations as “false” and “baseless.”
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“I assure you that your false accusations do not rattle me and do not divert me from the law enforcement and broader public service mission to which I have devoted most of my career and to which I remain devoted,” Mayorkas said.
Other voices against the impeachment of Mayorkas include Jonathan Turley, who was a witness for the House majority earlier this year, and Alan Dershowitz, who was former President Trump’s defense lawyer during the first impeachment effort against him. Former Bush-era DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff recently called on Republicans to “drop this impeachment charade” and work with Mayorkas to solve the crisis.