Feb 6, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Mayorkas impeachment fails in stunning loss for House Republicans

Photo: Getty Images

The House on Tuesday failed to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of an influx of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Why it matters: It's a stunning loss for House Republican leadership after some of their members broke away and voted against impeachment.

  • The last cabinet secretary to be impeached was War Secretary William Belknap in 1876.

Driving the news: The final tally was 214 votes for and 216 votes against, with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) absent as he recovers from cancer treatment.

  • Three Republicans – Reps. Ken Buck (Colo.), Mike Gallagher (Wisc.) and Tom McClintock (Calif.) – had joined all Democrats in voting against impeachment.
  • With the vote threatening to end in a tie, a fourth Republican flipped to no, allowing leadership to call for another vote in the future.

The details: The 20-page measure accused Mayorkas of pursuing far more lenient policies around the detention and release of migrants than prescribed by federal law and court rulings and blames him for a surge in border crossings during the Biden administration.

  • Mayorkas “has demonstrated he will remain a threat to national and border security … if allowed to remain in office,” it says, and “has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with his duties and the rule of law.”
  • Additionally, Mayorkas is alleged to have made false statements to Congress – including by saying in a hearing that the border is “secure” and “closed” – and “obstructed lawful oversight” from Congress and the DHS inspector general.

The other side: In a letter to House Republicans in January, Mayorkas said the "false accusations do not rattle me."

  • DHS said that House Republicans have “failed to provide any legitimate Constitutional grounds for impeachment,” calling it an “illegitimate exercise unworthy of the job Members of Congress.”
  • The memo accused Republicans of being primarily driven by political motivations, including a desire to “appease their most extreme Members.”
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