The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly defeated an effort on Feb. 6 to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by a vote of 214-216. Nearly every House Republican voted for the resolution despite presenting no evidence that he committed high crimes and misdemeanors.
The resolution, authored by Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, did not specify any actual illegal acts, instead accusing him of “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and “breach of the public trust.”
All 212 Democrats and Republican Reps. Ken Buck (CO), Mike Gallagher (WI), and Tom McClintock (CA) voted no. House Republican Caucus Chair Blake Moore (UT) also backed the effort, but switched his vote to no at the last minute for procedural reasons, allowing him to move to reconsider and potentially force another vote later.
Republicans charge that Mayorkas failed to follow the law when he and his team issued guidelines in 2021 to prioritize in immigration law enforcement “the apprehension and removal of noncitizens who are a threat to our national security, public safety, and border security and advance the interests of justice by ensuring a case-by-case assessment of whether an individual poses a threat.” Congress has failed to enact comprehensive immigration reform, and border security agents have been stretched thin by an immigration spike that began in 2005.
California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock said in a Feb. 6 letter to colleagues that the articles of impeachment “fail to identify an impeachable crime that Mayorkas has committed.”
No Cabinet secretary has been impeached since 1876.
The impeachment attempt came as the Republican majority in the House has struggled to enact the legislation promised in its 2022 “Commitment to America” to boost the economy, protect public safety, protect freedom, and hold the government accountable. Mired in intraparty fighting, it passed almost no legislation in 2023 and saw just 34 bills and resolutions become law in the entire year — well below the average in recent decades.
Trump was impeached in 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to his attempts to delay security aid to Ukraine in an effort to pressure its government to dig up dirt on his political opponents. He was again impeached in 2021 on charges of inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. In both cases, he was acquitted by the Senate.
“Impeachment is a constitutional nuclear option of last resort,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement opposing the 2019 impeachment. “Historical precedent demands that this only occurs in the most extreme of circumstances, and should happen only after a formal law enforcement investigation where independent, non-partisan factual findings of criminal activity are presented to Congress.”
In 2021, he said, “Any impeachment proceedings occurring while our country’s priority should be coming together would cause considerable harm towards achieving civility and unifying our country for the betterment of our future.“
“The impeachment process right now is very partisan, except for those who are voting against impeachment, because we’ve had rollover, we’ve had members from the other side of the aisle coming in to vote against the impeachment,” Joyce said in a December 2019 interview on WHP television in Harrisburg. ”This will have ongoing ramifications. I’m ready to move on, but today my responsibility is to affirm that President Trump was duly and democratically elected.”
In a statement opposing the 2021 impeachment, he wrote: “Despite our diverse political views, I believe that there is more that unites the American people than divides us. As we move forward, this is the moment to build national unity and focus on the peaceful transition of power ahead.”
“Since being sworn into office, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has failed in his duty to keep our nation safe,” he said in a Feb. 1 floor speech. “It is time for this Congress to impeach Secretary Mayorkas for his failure to uphold the law.”
“It’s ironic that House Democrats accuse President Trump of abusing his power as they blatantly abuse theirs by pursuing a purely partisan impeachment of a duly-elected president,” Kelly said in a December 2019 statement.
In 2021, he said: “If America is to come together, political games have to stop. Impeachment of a president for First Amendment protected speech just days before he leaves office is not a step toward unity.”
On Jan. 10, Kelly tweeted: “Under Secretary Mayorkas: 8 million illegal border crossings, 1.7 million known gotaways who evaded Border Patrol, Record illegal Northern border crossings, 66% of terror watchlist suspects crossed the *Northern* border in FY23. Secretary Mayorkas must be held accountable.”
“The process, players, and underlying proof at the heart of this impeachment have been fundamentally flawed and brazenly biased,” Meuser said in a statement opposing the 2019 impeachment. “This entire year has been a period of opportunity lost. Rather than working to improve the lives of the American public, this Democrat-led Congress has focused its full time and attention on passing partisan legislation and driving political outcomes.”
He opposed the 2021 impeachment, saying: “It is very important now to avoid actions that would further divide our people. An impeachment proceeding would only bolster such division. “
In January 2023, he said, ”I would support impeachment proceedings against Secretary Mayorkas because there is ample evidence that he has been deliberately negligent in enforcing laws that exist to secure our border, especially our asylum laws.” He co-sponsored Greene’s resolution.
“The Framers of our Constitution insisted that impeachment is for ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors,’ not political games,” wrote Perry in December 2019. “This process has nothing to do with fact-finding or getting to the bottom of wrongdoing; it’s about personal and political vendettas and a relentless pursuit to override the will of the American People.”
In a January 2021 statement, he said: “Absolutely no one in our Nation deserves punishment without due process — no one. This hasty rush to judgement may serve as political paybacks and scintillating sound bites for some, but today’s sham of an impeachment wouldn’t be fit for the Inquisition or prairie justice — it’s an embarrassing and dangerous stunt that furthers our American divide, and I proudly voted against it.”
“Proudly signed on as an original cosponsor for articles of impeachment against DHS Secretary Mayorkas,” Perry tweeted in January 2023.
In a December 2019 press release opposing what he called “Democrats’ partisan impeachment scam,” Reschenthaler wrote: “As a former judge, I would dismiss this case for lack of merit because the facts just aren’t there. This is nothing more than a political hit job.”
He said the 2021 impeachment would “no doubt further divide our already fractured nation,” and warned, “The measure before us today sets a dangerous precedent whereby political parties can justify impeachment simply because they do not agree with the president.”
Smucker opposed the 2019 impeachment, telling colleagues: “It’s clear that the facts never mattered to the House Democrats. They never wanted to do work with the president and instead intended to fulfill their divisive, partisan agenda.”
“Today I opposed the impeachment of President Trump, who will be out of office in less than a week’s time,” Smucker wrote in a January 2021 statement. “We must unite and move forward together as a nation and today’s vote does not help us do either.”
“This vote was a political stunt aimed at reversing the votes of 63 million Americans who put the President in office,” Thompson said of the 2019 impeachment. “I continue to warn others that scoring cheap political points is not worth leaving a lasting stain on this institution. They need to understand the American public is tired of the games and want real results out of Washington.”
He opposed impeachment in 2021, saying, “I do not believe impeachment is the appropriate course of action at this time and remain concerned that moving forward will only further sow seeds of division across the political landscape.”