Republicans in the House of Representatives acquitted Mayorkas of impeachment charges

House Republicans on Sunday announced two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas, accusing President Biden’s top immigration official of refusing to support the bill and violating public trust in his handling of the surge in migration at the US border with Mexico.

Leaders of the House Homeland Security Committee laid out their case against Mr. Mayorkas ahead of a meeting on Tuesday to approve the charges, paving the way for a quick House vote as early as next month on impeachment. It would be the culmination of Republican attacks on Mr. Biden’s immigration policies and a remarkable move given the growing consensus among legal experts that Mr. Mayorkasa do not represent high crimes and misdemeanors.

The push comes as House Republicans, spurred on by former President Donald J. Trump, are railing against the bipartisan border compromise that Mr. Mayorkas helped negotiate with a group of senators, which Mr. Biden promised to sign. House GOP lawmakers dismissed the deal as too weak and say they cannot trust Mr. Biden to crack down on migration now that he has failed in the past.

Accusations against Mr. Mayorkasa, if approved by the full house, will surely disappear in the Senate led by Democrats, where Mr. Mayorkas was on trial and a two-thirds majority would be needed to convict and depose him. But the process would make for an extraordinary election-year political spectacle, effectively putting Mr. Biden’s immigration record on trial as Mr. Trump, who has put a borderline push on his signature issue, seeks to clinch the Republican presidential nomination to run against him.

The first article of impeachment essentially marks the Biden administration’s border policy as an official crime. It accuses Mr. Mayorkas of willfully and systematically violating laws requiring migrants to be detained by implementing a “catch and release” policy that allows some to remain in the United States pending trial and others to flee certain war-torn and economically devastated countries to live and temporarily work in the country. Immigration laws give the president broad latitude to do both.

Another member accuses Mr. Mayorkas of lying to Congress about whether the border was secure and obstructing lawmakers’ efforts to investigate it.

“These articles make a clear, compelling and irrefutable case for the impeachment of Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas,” said Rep. Mark Green, Republican of Tennessee and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “Congress has a duty to make sure that the executive branch implements and enforces the laws that we have passed.”

The Biden administration and the Democrats defended Mr. Mayorkas that he acted lawfully and truthfully, claiming that he fully complied with the GOP’s investigations even before they launched an impeachment inquiry. They also denounced the impeachment as a political exercise, accusing Republicans of Mr. They made Mayorkas a scapegoat as a favor to the hard right instead of working with them on bipartisan solutions to alleviate what leaders of both parties see as a border crisis.

Republicans are “misusing Congress’s impeachment power to appease their MAGA members, score political points and distract the American people from their do-nothing Congress,” Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the panel’s senior Democrat, said in a statement, adding: “House must reject this bogus resolution.”

The charges come as leading Republicans and Democrats push to save a bipartisan border security deal emerging in the Senate that would make it harder to seek asylum, increase detention capacity and impose a freeze on crossings if migrant encounters rise above the average of 5,000 a day in during the week.

Mr. Biden has vowed to “close the border” if Congress sends him a compromise, while Mr. Trump has pressed GOP lawmakers to oppose it as insufficient. Speaker Mike Johnson said the deal was likely “dead on arrival” in the House, promising instead to put articles of impeachment on Mr. Mayorkas on the floor “as soon as possible.”

The leaders of the House of Representatives have been threatening for more than a year that Mr. Mayorkas to be held personally responsible for the surge in migrant crossings and drug trafficking across the southern border with Mexico. Their efforts have accelerated in recent weeks, after months in which Republican leaders seemed unable to muster enough support within their ranks.

The change came after Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, tried to force an early vote on the impeachment, a move that failed when a group of more mainstream Republicans and Democrats voted instead to send the case to the Homeland Security Council.

The committee rushed through the impeachment process this month, holding only two hearings and interviewing no federal officials — including Mr. Mayorkas himself — before his GOP members unanimously recommended that charges proceed.

The articles attempt to blame Mr. Mayorkas for the influx of migrants who have arrived at the southern border in recent years and tried to enter the United States without visas. He is accused of bringing even people with criminal records into the country and refusing to deport those with removal orders, while misrepresenting the situation at the border by telling Congress that his department has “operational control.”

Mr. Mayorkas previously explained that Border Patrol agents use a different definition of “operational control” than the one that appears in the law. He defended his policy by arguing that the department is detaining and removing illegal migrants to the maximum extent that limited resources will allow, and is using parole powers to humanely manage the unprecedented pressure on the southern border.

Republicans raced through the investigation without ever subpoenaing Mr. Mayorkas to testify in his own defense, revoking a summons to appear in person after a scheduling disagreement and directing him instead to submit a written statement within 10 days of the Jan. 18 final hearing.

The GOP said the deadline would expire on Sunday, but Democrats and Mr. Mayorkas’ representatives say he has until Wednesday, a day after the panel is expected to approve charges against him.

Democrats say the impeachment process was dominated by Republicans, whose witnesses included the grieving mothers of victims of brutal crimes committed by undocumented immigrants and the three state attorneys general who are suing Mr. Mayorkas. And they reject the substance of the accusations against Mr. Mayorkasa, noting that during testimony before the panel, legal experts claimed that the complaints against him represented a political dispute and not a constitutional crime.

“What is clearly missing from these articles is any actual allegation or even a shred of evidence of high crimes or misdemeanors – the constitutional standard for impeachment,” Mr. Thompson in his statement. “The Republicans’ so-called ‘investigation’ of Secretary Mayorkas was extremely fact-free,” he added.

House Republicans dismissed the criticism, arguing that the Constitution’s impeachment instruction for “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors” does not bind them.

“His lawless behavior was exactly what the creators gave us the impeachment power to fix,” said Mr. Green on Mr. Mayorkas.

If Mr. Mayorkas were to be impeached, he would become only the second cabinet secretary in US history to suffer that fate. The last, William W. Belknap, Secretary of War under Ulysses S. Grant, was impeached in 1876 on charges of corruption and involvement in a kickback scheme. He was later acquitted by the Senate.

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