Republicans in the House of Representatives released two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Sunday, heightening tensions with the cabinet official as the Biden administration tries to land a bipartisan border security package in the Senate.
“Congress has a duty to see that the executive branch implements and enforces the laws we have passed,” Rep. Mark Green (R-TN), chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, said in a statement, according to The Washington Post. “Yet Secretary Mayorkas has repeatedly refused to do so.”
The House Homeland Security Committee held impeachment hearings against Mayorkas earlier this month, though the official has not yet appeared for in-person testimony nor has he provided a written testimony in advance of a Jan. 31 deadline. (Mayorkas last testified in November and offered again last week to appear before the committee.) House Republicans also never specified what specific charges Mayorkas would face until Sunday, weeks after the hearings.
The first charge accuses Mayorkas of failing to enforce the country’s immigration policies and ignoring congressional laws, alleging his inaction exacerbated the migrant crisis at the Southern border. The second charge accuses Mayorkas of lying to Congress and obstructing House oversight of his department.
DHS responded to the “evidence-free” impeachment charges with a blistering memo, calling the attacks “more of the same political games.”
“They don’t want to fix the problem; they want to campaign on it. That’s why they have undermined efforts to achieve bipartisan solutions and ignored the facts, legal scholars and experts, and even the Constitution itself in their quest to baselessly impeach Secretary Mayorkas.”
Legal experts have questioned the GOP’s strategy in attempting to impeach Mayorkas over policy or character disputes, and any impeachment would likely crater in the Democratic-controlled Senate that has worked with Mayorkas to negotiate a bipartisan border deal.
Still, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) said in a statement on Friday that the House would seek to impeach Mayorkas expeditiously.