Mayorkas lashes out at GOP ahead of first impeachment vote

Alejandro Mayorkas, Homeland Security Secretary, exploded at the Republican Congress on Tuesday before a first vote to impeach. He said he wouldn’t tolerate “politically-motivated accusations and personal assaults you have made against [him]”.

In a letter of seven pages, he listed his extensive public service record and his role as border manager over the past three years. He said he would continue to do so, even if Republicans keep pushing forward.

He said: “I assure that your false allegations do not frighten me or divert me away from my mission of law enforcement and public service, to which i have dedicated most of my professional career and which I remain committed.”

The House Homeland Security Committee will vote on Tuesday two articles of impeachment. The first accuses him to have subverted immigration laws willfully by allowing catch-and release of illegal immigrants. The second accuses of breaching public trust because he obstructed and lied to Congress.

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In his letter, Mr. Mayorkas said that he had done the best with the tools he has. He said that any solution beyond his efforts would require new legislation from Congress, something he is working on with a group of bipartisan senators.

The Secretary listed his achievements, saying that Homeland Security had reached the highest number in 10 years of removing border migrants.

Republicans note that he has also broken records for catch and release, with millions more illegal immigrants arriving in the U.S. during the past three years.

The system, according to Mr. Mayorkas, is not designed to deal with the unprecedented flow of illegal immigrants, including unaccompanied children and families.

House Speaker Mike Johnson said that if the Homeland Security Committee approved the articles of impeachment, he would move them to the House floor for a vote. The majority of the House votes is all that’s needed to impeach a president, but conviction and removal requires two-thirds support in the Senate. This is unlikely, given that Democrats control the upper chamber.

The disagreement between the White House, Congress and President Biden is largely about whether he needs to be given new powers.

Republicans claim that the then-President Trump was able to secure a border using the same laws as Mr. Biden and that he did so without assistance from Congress.

Customs and Border Protection reported 92,000 encounters nationwide with undocumented migrants in December 2020, which was the last month of Mr. Trump’s presidency. In December 2023, four years later, Mr. Biden had seen four times as many unauthorized migrants.

In his letter, Mr. Mayorkas suggested that it would take draconian policy for the Trump Team.

He said: “I find it unconscionable that children are separated from their parents to serve as a deterrent.” He was referring to the zero tolerance border policy of the Trump Administration in 2018. “I think that border law enforcement can be both tough and humane. “It is our duty to the American public to resolve our differences and find solutions together.”

Mark Green, Homeland Security Committee chairman, invited Mr. Mayorkas, Secretary of State, to testify at the impeachment hearings and provided a date. The secretary, however, rejected this date, stating that he was busy with other matters, such as negotiating with Mexico about tighter border controls.

Mr. Green invited Mr. Mayorkas instead to submit a written testimony.

The secretary claims he did not reject the invitation to appear in person, but was simply trying to find an appropriate time.

Mr. Mayorkas stated that his letter was his response to proceedings.