House GOP Impeaches DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas

House Republicans voted Tuesday to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas ― not for any legitimate reason, but because they really want to help Donald Trump look tough on immigration issues ahead of the November presidential election.

The final vote was 214 to 213. A handful of Republicans joined all Democrats in opposing the effort: Reps. Ken Buck (Colo.), Tom McClintock (Calif.) and Mike Gallagher (Wis.).

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) tried to impeach Mayorkas last week, but in a humiliating misstep, he botched the math and fell one vote short of pulling it off. He held the vote again Tuesday, when he knew that Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) would be back in town after receiving cancer treatments and able to provide the GOP with an extra vote.

The GOP’s two articles of impeachment accuse Mayorkas of “willful” refusal to comply with immigration laws, and of breaching public trust. They’re essentially blaming him for the government failing to adequately manage a surge in migration at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The absurdity of their effort is that Republicans haven’t produced any evidence that Mayorkas has committed crimes, never mind crimes that meet the threshold for impeachable offenses. The Constitution spells out that impeachment is reserved for rare instances of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” like bribery or treason.

Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.), who voted to impeach Mayorkas, flat out admitted hours earlier that Republicans were using impeachment as a public relations stunt.

“It needs action,” Hill said on Fox News, on the need to tighten border security. “This is what’s disappointing to people. That’s why Mayorkas is going to pay this public relations price by being impeached.”

Beyond that, GOP lawmakers know that the real solution to problems at the border is passing bipartisan immigration reform, which they have failed to do for decades.

The Senate actually unveiled a bipartisan border deal last month that would have addressed the very thing that Republicans been demanding action on for months: it would have reduced record-high levels of border crossings and dramatically scaled back the country’s asylum system.

But then Trump screwed it all up. He directly intervened in Senate negotiations and ordered the GOP not to support any bipartisan border bills because they would give President Joe Biden a win ahead of the November presidential election.

Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 6 as House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) looks on.
Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 6 as House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) looks on.

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Caught between angering Trump and looking like they haven’t done anything to address the same border concerns they’ve been demanding action on for months, House Republicans settled on going after Mayorkas, a Cabinet secretary charged with carrying out current immigration laws.

Their impeachment articles aren’t going anywhere in the Senate, where even some Republicans have mocked their House counterparts for spending time on this stunt.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) called it “the dumbest exercise and use of time.”

“What’s rich to me is the speaker says the [border] bill in the Senate is … dead on arrival,” Cramer told Capitol Hill reporters earlier this month. “And then they proceed with impeaching a Cabinet secretary, which is obviously dead on arrival.”

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