House blocks resolution to impeach DHS secretary

Washington — The House on Monday blocked a resolution to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of the situation along the U.S.-Mexico border, instead voting to refer the matter to a committee. 

The impeachment measure introduced by GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia last week includes a single article that accuses Mayorkas of engaging “in a pattern of conduct that is incompatible with the laws” of the United States. 

Lawmakers were supposed to vote on a Democratic-led motion to table, or kill, the resolution. But Democrats instead brought a motion to refer the resolution to the Homeland Security Committee, making it easier for them to gain the support of moderate Republicans. Still, the referral has a similar effect. 

The House voted 209-201 in favor of sending the resolution to the committee, with eight Republicans voting with all Democrats. 

“I cannot believe this. I’m outraged,” Greene told reporters, adding that she may reintroduce the measure. 

The Mayorkas impeachment push

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas responds to lawmakers' questions during a Senate hearing on May 4, 2022.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas responds to lawmakers’ questions during a Senate hearing on May 4, 2022.

Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Mayorkas has been facing threats of impeachment over his handling of the U.S.-Mexico border since the GOP gained control of the House in November 2022. Greene moved to take action against the secretary after eight people died when a vehicle driven by a suspected human smuggler collided with another car on a Texas highway last week.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said the suspected smuggler, who lived in Houston, was evading law enforcement from Zavala County when he hit the other vehicle head-on, killing the driver and passenger. Those two victims were from Dalton, Georgia, located in Greene’s district, according to Texas authorities.

The resolution itself alleges Mayorkas “has violated his oath to uphold this constitutional duty” by allowing an “invasion” of undocumented immigrants to cross the border. 

A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said Monday that Republicans in the House have “wasted months trying to score points with baseless attacks,” adding that Mayorkas “has been doing his job and working to keep Americans safe.”

“Instead of continuing their reckless impeachment charades and attacks on law enforcement, Congress should work with us to keep our country safe, build on the progress DHS is making, and deliver desperately needed reforms for our broken immigration system that only legislation can fix,” the spokesperson said.

Even if the House’s impeachment effort against Mayorkas is eventually successful, he would likely be acquitted in a trial by the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats. Only one Cabinet member — Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876  — has been impeached before. He was acquitted by the Senate.

Many GOP lawmakers have blamed Mayorkas for the current conditions at the southern border and have called for a change in leadership at the Department of Homeland Security. 

House Speaker Mike Johnson told Fox News earlier this month that he believes Mayorkas has committed “impeachable offenses,” but said Republicans “only have so much time and resources to go after that.”

The focus on Mayorkas comes as the House is staring down a Nov. 17 deadline to fund federal agencies and avert a government shutdown. Johnson introduced a stopgap measure Saturday that would fund one group of agencies until Jan. 19 and another group until Feb. 2 at current levels, but does not include a request from President Biden for assistance to Ukraine and Israel.

Camilo Montoya-Galvez and Jaala Brown contributed reporting.

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