News: The House Homeland Security Committee is formally moving ahead with impeachment proceedings against DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The first hearing will take place on Jan. 10, with a possible second hearing to be held the following week.
Homeland Security Committee Chair Mark Green (R-Tenn.) said the conclusion of the panel’s investigation in December has provided House Republicans with enough evidence to impeach Mayorkas. Green accused Mayorkas of misusing taxpayer dollars and purposefully ignoring border security measures.
“Our investigation made clear that this crisis finds its foundation in Secretary Mayorkas’ decision-making and refusal to enforce the laws passed by Congress, and that his failure to fulfill his oath of office demands accountability,” Green told us in a statement. “The bipartisan House vote in November to refer articles of impeachment to my Committee only served to highlight the importance of our taking up the impeachment process – which is what we will begin doing next Wednesday.”
This is a major escalation in Green’s nearly year-long probe into Mayorkas, which was split into five phases. The investigation looked at the origins, effects and economic costs of the influx of millions of undocumented migrants who have illegally crossed the U.S. border since Mayorkas has held his post.
It also comes as House Republicans launched a formal impeachment inquiry last month into President Joe Biden. That probe could wrap up as early as February.
On top of that, House Republicans will be grappling with two looming government shutdown deadlines when they return to Capitol Hill next week.
While there have been multiple presidential and judicial impeachment proceedings held by Congress in recent decades, this would mark the first impeachment of a Cabinet official since Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876.
The process is essentially the same, however. A majority of the House could vote to remove Mayorkas over alleged “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The Senate would then hold a trial, with two-thirds of senators needing to vote to convict in order to remove Mayorkas from office. This is very unlikely in a Democratic-run Senate, despite Democrats’ bad polls on handling the U.S.-Mexico border.
There will be significant debate over whether Mayorkas, in carrying out the policies of the Biden administration, somehow committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
House GOP leaders will be down to a two-vote margin soon following the looming exit of Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) in a few weeks. House Republicans don’t exactly have a strong track record of passing anything this Congress, so Mayorkas’ impeachment isn’t a given if all Democrats continue to back him.
Yet the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border has arguably been House Republicans’ biggest rallying cry heading into a critical election year. The issue is widely seen as a huge political problem for Democrats and Biden. The president’s poll numbers on this issue are terrible.
On Tuesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said there were 302,000 migrant encounters in December, the highest number of illegal crossings ever recorded in a month, according to Fox News.
Green’s first hearing is expected to be titled: “Havoc in the Heartland: How Secretary Mayorkas’ Failed Leadership Has Impacted the States.”
The hearing will explore how Midwestern states have grappled with the flow of migrants that have increasingly come across the southern border in recent years.
The House GOP leadership hasn’t determined yet when a formal vote would take place on impeachment, but multiple sources said there will be a markup on an impeachment resolution. Mayorkas isn’t expected to appear before the committee for now.
Mia Ehrenberg, DHS spokesperson, said Republicans have “no valid basis” to impeach Mayorkas.
“The House majority is wasting valuable time and taxpayer dollars pursuing a baseless political exercise that has been rejected by members of both parties and already failed on a bipartisan vote,” Ehrenberg said.
Homeland Security Committee Democrats have also called Green’s impeachment efforts “baseless.”
“No matter how many reports Republicans release or hearings they hold, nothing Chairman Green has done this past year has changed the fact that the extreme MAGA Republican effort to impeach Secretary Mayorkas is completely baseless,” said Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.). “They’ve only shown the American people it is nothing more than a political stunt without any foundation in the Constitution. It was never meant to be a legitimate investigation – only a MAGA spectacle.”
Of course, hardline conservative Republicans have been itching to impeach Mayorkas for a while now.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said she was guaranteed a Mayorkas impeachment vote by Green and Speaker Mike Johnson back in November. This came after the House voted to refer her articles of impeachment on Mayorkas to the Homeland Security panel.
Last week, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), who first filed impeachment articles against Mayorkas back in 2021, reiterated his call to boot Mayorkas from his post.
“Every day Alejandro Mayorkas remains in public office, America is less safe,” Biggs said in a post. “Congress must impeach him.”
— Mica Soellner and John Bresnahan