Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas cannot “remain in office any longer,” Rep. Mark Green says.
Green, R-Tenn., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, oversaw the markup of two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas on Tuesday and into early Wednesday morning.
“Today is a grave day,” Green said at the start of the all-day markup. “We have not approached this day or this process lightly. Secretary Mayorkas’ actions have forced our hand.”
Following about 15 hours of discussion and debate, the House Homeland Security Committee voted along party lines to advance the impeachment articles against Mayorkas to a vote on the floor of the House.
“The time for accountability is now,” the Tennessee lawmaker said.
The first article of impeachment asserts that Mayorkas has failed to enforce America’s borders and immigration laws, and has instead executed policies that incentivize illegal immigration.
The DHS secretary “has willfully and systemically refused to comply with federal immigration laws,” the article reads. Specifically, the article contends that Mayorkas has “repeatedly violated laws enacted by Congress regarding immigration and border security,” which is at least partly responsible for why “millions of aliens have illegally entered the United States on an annual basis with many unlawfully remaining in the United States.”
Under Mayorkas’ leadership within the Biden administration, Customs and Border Protection has encountered more than 8.5 million illegal aliens at America’s borders. The exact number of those illegal aliens who have been released into the U.S. is not publicly reported, but during a closed-door meeting with Border Patrol agents in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Jan. 8, Mayorkas reportedly said that more than 85% of the illegal migrants encountered at the border are released into the country.
The second article of impeachment contends that Mayorkas is in breach of public trust and has made false statements to Congress and to the American people.
“Mayorkas knowingly made false statements to Congress that the border is ‘secure,’ that the border is ‘no less secure than it was previously,’ that the border is ‘closed,’ and that DHS has ‘operational control’ of the border,’” according to the article text.
Mayorkas defended himself in a letter sent to Green Tuesday.
“You claim that we have failed to enforce our immigration laws. That is false,” he writes. “We have provided Congress and your committee hours of testimony, thousands of documents, hundreds of briefings, and much more information that demonstrates quite clearly how we are enforcing the law.”
In the letter, Mayorkas said the Biden administration had deported more migrants in the past three years than the Trump administration had done over four years.
“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,” the Homeland Security secretary adds.
Committee member Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., said during the markup Tuesday that the impeachment effort against Mayorkas is focused on “vindicating the rule of law in our constitutional system.”
Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., told the committee that the Republicans’ impeachment effort against Mayorkas is “debasing and demeaning the impeachment clause of the United States Constitution.”
Goldman argued that the impeachment clause of the Constitution is “not designed to remove bad policy,” but rather only “bad men.”
Mayorkas himself weighed in on the impeachment proceedings against him, sending a letter to Green on Tuesday saying that the “problems with our broken and outdated immigration system are not new.”
The DHS chief called on Congress to deliver a “legislative solution” to the situation at the southern border, and said it is “false” to claim that his DHS has “failed to enforce our immigration laws.”
“We have provided Congress and your committee hours of testimony, thousands of documents, hundreds of briefings, and much more information that demonstrates quite clearly how we are enforcing the law,” Mayorkas wrote in the letter.
He also cited the “bipartisan group of United States Senators” who are currently working on a compromise border security bill as a path forward to address the issues at the southern border.
The Senate’s border bill, the text of which has not yet been released, reportedly allows up to 5,000 illegal aliens to cross the border each day.
Obama administration DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in 2019 that 1,000 apprehensions on the border a day “was a relatively bad number.” Now, the average daily number of illegal aliens encountered at the southern border in December was more than 9,000.
Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss., said Republicans in the House have already taken action to secure the border, pointing to the passage HR 2 in May 2023, and said that the House appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security “went above and beyond what was requested by the president.”
A full House vote on the articles of impeachment is expected as soon as next week.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect developments in the story.
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