House Republicans impeach Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas holds a press conference at a U.S. Border Patrol station on January 08, 2024 in Eagle Pass, Texas.

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House Republicans on Tuesday impeached Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the second time in American history that a Cabinet member has been impeached.

By a final tally of 214-213, the House approved two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas, alleging that he intentionally violated federal immigration laws and blocked congressional oversight of the Homeland Security Department.

Mayorkas will now face trial in the Democrat-controlled Senate where it is all but certain he will be acquitted.

“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,” President Joe Biden said in a statement following the vote.

The White House has repeatedly condemned the impeachment effort over the past year, calling it a political distraction by Republicans, who refused $20 billion of border security funding in a bipartisan Senate deal last week.

“While Secretary Mayorkas was helping a group of Republican and Democratic Senators develop bipartisan solutions to strengthen border security and get needed resources for enforcement, House Republicans have wasted months with this baseless, unconstitutional impeachment,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement after the vote.

The GOP-led impeachment motion was a small redemption for Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and Republican hardliners after the same effort failed last week.

This time around, Republicans were confident they would have the majority vote to impeach now that House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., has returned to Washington after cancer treatment, which prevented him from breaking last week’s 215-215 tie.

“There’s always concerns, but no, it will pass,” Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., said Tuesday ahead of the vote. “All the Republicans will be back and it’ll pass.”

That optimism still hinged on a razor-thin House Republican majority, which was threatened by a northeast snowstorm that lawmakers feared would hamper travel to Capitol Hill. Even with all the GOP members present, Republicans could only afford to lose three members of their caucus voting against the impeachment.

During last Tuesday’s vote, Reps. Ken Buck of Colorado, Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Tom McClintock of California, crossed party lines to help Democrats sink the impeachment effort. All three stuck by their no-votes on Tuesday evening.

Days after he helped tank the impeachment last week, Gallagher announced that he would not seek reelection for a fifth House term, leaving his seat up for grabs in a key swing state.

Tuesday’s impeachment re-vote took place hours before polls close in a New York special election to fill ex-Rep. George Santos’ seat, which would further squeeze the House Republican majority if Democratic candidate Tom Suozzi prevails.

Johnson and ultraconservative Republicans see Mayorkas’ impeachment as a key part of their broader siege against the Biden administration’s handling of the Southern border, which has seen record numbers of migrant crossings in recent months.

Mayorkas has argued that chaos at the border is not his fault but rather a symptom of the country’s decades-long broken immigration system.

“We don’t bear responsibility for a broken system,” Mayorkas said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

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