Posted on February 14, 2024

Republicans Impeach Mayorkas in Historic Vote

Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill, February 13, 2024

House Republicans on Tuesday narrowly secured a historic vote to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, rallying GOP members after a first failed effort.

Mayorkas is the first Cabinet official to be impeached since the 1870s, a vote made all the more remarkable by Republicans’ inability to pass the same articles of impeachment last week, when three GOP members joined Democrats to tank the resolution, citing concerns their colleagues were abusing their impeachment power.


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) described the vote as advancing “without a shred of evidence or legitimate Constitutional grounds.”

Tuesday’s 214-213 vote is a recovery from an embarrassing speed bump for Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), whose fractious conference — particularly Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) — had made impeaching Mayorkas a priority as they seek to make the border a central issue ahead of November.

Alejandro Mayorkas deserves to be impeached, and Congress has a constitutional obligation to do so,” Johnson said in a statement after the vote.


The vote was made possible only by the return of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), who missed last week’s vote while undergoing treatment for blood cancer. Republican leadership brought the vote to the floor last Tuesday thinking they had enough members to clinch a win, only to be surprised by the return of Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), who left the hospital bed where he was recovering from surgery to cast his “no” vote in a dramatic twist.

Republicans did not face such obstacles to their second vote, though they still lost the backing of the same trio of their colleagues, including Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), who announced over the weekend he would no longer seek reelection. Reps. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) also remained opposed.


But when the bill was considered last week, the GOP cast migrants as a threat to the nation while blaming Mayorkas for fentanyl deaths.

“He’s disregarding the laws that this body passed, basically disregarding the institution in the United States Congress, disregarding the Constitution in of itself, which says we write the laws and they execute them,” House Homeland Security Committee Chair Mark Green (R-Tenn.), who led the investigation into Mayorkas, said after leaving the vote.

“He should enforce and detain everybody, and he’s not been doing that. And so we’ve held him accountable tonight.”

The GOP case for impeachment is an unusual one, spurring criticism from conservative legal scholars as well as the opposing Republican lawmakers who argued their colleagues did not meet the bar for impeachment.

Republicans accuse Mayorkas of “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law,” claiming he violated immigration laws by failing to detain a sufficient number of migrants.


The articles also accuse him of “breach of public trust,” which includes misleading claims about Mayorkas’s interactions with Congress and his response to subpoenas from the House Homeland Security Committee. It also says he “failed to take action to fulfill his statutory duty to control the border.”