Republicans impeach Mayorkas in historic vote

House Republicans narrowly won a historic vote on Tuesday to impeach Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. This was a rallying effort for GOP members following a failed first attempt.

Mayorkas became the first Cabinet official impeached in the United States since 1870. This vote was made even more impressive by the Republicans’ failure to pass the same articles last week. Three GOP members joined Democrats and voted against the resolution because they were concerned that their colleagues abused their impeachment powers.

The Democrat-led Senate is not expected to take action on the articles.

The Department of Homeland Security described the vote’s progress as “without any evidence or constitutionally legitimate grounds.”


The 214-213 vote on Tuesday is an attempt by Speaker Mike Johnson (R) to recover from a humiliating speed bump. The fractious conference, led by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia (R), had impeachment Mayorkas as a top priority. They wanted to make the border issue a major issue in November.

Johnson, in a press release issued after the vote, said that “Alejandro Mayorkas deserved to be impeached and Congress had a constitutional duty to do so.”

Johnson was faced with a razor thin majority, a vote Tuesday night in New York that could further narrow this majority, and a severe storm that threatened Republicans’ access to the Capitol.

Only the return of House Minority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La, made it possible for the vote to take place. Last week, Scalise was undergoing treatment for cancer of the blood. The Republican leadership thought they had enough votes to win the vote on Tuesday, but were surprised when Rep. Al Green returned from his hospital bed to vote “no”.

The Republicans faced no such obstructions in their second vote. However, they lost the support of the same three colleagues, including Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., who announced on the weekend that he would not seek reelection. Reps. Ken Buck, R-Colo. and Tom McClintock, R-Calif., also opposed the measure.

House Republicans will be remembered for trampling the Constitution to achieve political gains, rather than working on solving the serious border challenges. House Republicans wasted months on this unconstitutional, baseless impeachment while Secretary Mayorkas worked with a group Republican and Democratic Senators to develop bipartisan solutions for border security.

“Without any evidence or constitutional grounds and despite bipartisan resistance, House Republicans have falsely defamed a dedicated public service who has spent over 20 years enforcing laws and serving our nation. Secretary Mayorkas will continue to work every day with the Department of Homeland Security in order to keep Americans safe.

The GOP voted Tuesday night, a day of fly-ins. Former Rep. Tom Suozzi was also on the ballot that day in New York for his old seat after the removal from office of former Rep. George Santos. Suozzi’s victory and a delayed vote could have resulted in a more even balance of the chamber and the risk of a tie vote, which would mean a loss.

Tuesday, the House didn’t debate the articles a second. Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, changed his vote last week to “no”, in an act of procedural expediency.

When the bill was discussed last week, Republicans portrayed migrants as a danger to the country while blaming Mayorkas of fentanyl-related deaths.

Mark Green, the Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee (R-Tenn.), the investigator who conducted the investigation on Mayorkas said, “He is disregarding laws passed by this body, disregarding basically the institution within the United States Congress and disregarding even the Constitution itself which states that we write the law and they implement it.”

He should have detained and enforced everyone, but he hasn’t done that. We held him responsible tonight.”

The GOP’s case for impeachment has been criticized by conservative legal scholars and Republican legislators who claim their colleagues have not met the standard for impeachment.

Republicans accuse Mayorkas “of a willful and systematic refusal to comply with law,” claiming that he broke immigration laws by not detaining a sufficient number migrants.

Immigration law experts who weighed in on the claim found that Mayorkas had not broken any laws, but was making the same difficult choices as previous administrations about who they could detain.

Articles also accuse Mayorkas of “breach public trust” which includes false claims about his interactions with Congress, and his response to the subpoenas of the House Homeland Security Committee. The article also claims that he failed to “take action to fulfill his duty to control border.”

Democrats claim that the articles do not meet the standards for impeachment. They also note that the policies Republicans want to impeach him over were upheld by the courts.

Bennie Thomspon, a Democratic Representative from Mississippi, said: “After Extreme MAGA Republicans first impeachment votes turned out to be an epic failure on the House Floor last week the tainted voting tonight was an absolute tragedy.” In a statement he said that he is sure the Senate will ignore the vote.

He added, “Rather than providing the Department of Homeland Security with the resources it requires or working together to find a bipartisan resolution, they have rejected all solutions for the sole purpose of having a political wedge in an election year.”

The history will not be kind to what Republicans did last night. They put the Constitution and the House’s integrity, as well any hope for working together under the bus.

Republicans who opposed the articles expressed concern that the bill violated the Constitution’s standards, saying Mayorkas’s performance on the job did not constitute a crime.

Buck wrote last week in an opinion piece for The Hill that “maladministration or incompetence” does not meet the standard of what our founding fathers deemed an impeachable offence.

McClintock also released a memo of 10 pages outlining his concerns about the impeachment effort.

The logic should be evident. The job of a cabinet secretary is to execute the wishes of the president. McClintock wrote: “How can he be impeached because he’s doing his job?” McClintock blamed President Biden for border problems.

Mayorkas is a very different case from the first cabinet member to be impeached. William Belknap, Secretary of War, resigned amid allegations that he had accepted kickbacks in connection with a lucrative military trade.