U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas holds a press conference at a U.S. Border Patrol station in Eagle Pass, Texas on January 8, 2024.

(Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

'A New Low': House Republicans Impeach Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas

"When you have no record of accomplishment to run on... this is what you do," said one Texas Democrat. "You put on a circus."

In what congressional Democrats blasted as yet another example of right-wingers in the U.S. House of Representatives creating "chaos" because they "simply can't govern," 214 Republicans voted Tuesday to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Three Republicans—Reps. Ken Buck (Colo.), Mike Gallagher (Wis.), and Tom McClintock (Calif.)—joined all 210 Democrats present in voting against impeaching Mayorkas for his handling of immigration at the southern U.S. border. Two members of each party did not vote.

Democratic President Joe Biden, who is seeking reelection in November, said in a lengthy statement after the vote that "history will not look kindly on House Republicans for their blatant act of unconstitutional partisanship that has targeted an honorable public servant in order to play petty political games."

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) declared that "the 'do-nothing' Republican Party continues to waste time and resources that could be spent working for the American people on baseless, partisan attacks of Biden administration officials as they take up this sham impeachment vote of Secretary Mayorkas."

Jayapal noted that Tuesday's vote came after a failed attempt last week, when only House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) was absent and Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah) voted with the three Republicans and 212 Democrats who opposed impeaching Mayorkas.

"There is no question that the immigration system is broken—and what the American people want and deserve is an orderly and humane system that properly processes people and modernizes an outdated immigration system that has not been updated in over 30 years to reflect for the needs of our American economy, communities, and families," she said.

As The New York Timessummarized earlier this month:

The first article of impeachment accuses Mr. Mayorkas of refusing to enforce a law that mandates the detention of migrants who lack authorization to enter the United States, and of exceeding his authority to parole those people into the country, allowing them to live and work temporarily while they wait for their immigration claims to be processed.

The second article accuses the secretary of breaching the public trust by misrepresenting the state of the border to lawmakers and hampering the Republican-led investigation into his conduct.

Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) took to the House floor to condemn the impeachment as a "sham."

"When you have no record of accomplishment to run on... this is what you do," he said. "You put on a circus."

The only other Cabinet member to ever be impeached was William Belknap, who resigned as secretary of war just before the vote in 1876. According toTime, "The Senate went forward with the trial anyway, but fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict."

In 2024, the Senate is narrowly controlled by Democrats, and as The Associated Pressnoted Tuesday, "neither Democratic nor Republican senators have shown interest in the matter and it may be indefinitely shelved to a committee."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement that Mayorkas' impeachment is an attempt by House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) "to further appease" former President Donald Trump—the GOP presidential front-runner who has pressured congressional Republicans to abandon their battle for new border policies so he can campaign on limiting immigration.

"This sham impeachment effort is another embarrassment for House Republicans," said Schumer. "House Republicans failed to produce any evidence that Secretary Mayorkas has committed any crime. House Republicans failed to show he has violated the Constitution."

"House Republicans failed to present any evidence of anything resembling an impeachable offense," he added. "This is a new low for House Republicans."

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.