House Republicans pushed Tuesday toward a vote to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in what would be the first impeachment of a U.S. Cabinet secretary in almost a century and a half.
The Homeland Security Committee is moving for a vote on two articles of impeachment: “Willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law,” and “Breach of public trust.”
The charges could be sent to the full House as soon as next week. Given the Republicans’ slim majority in the House and opposition from Democrats, it is unclear if they will be able to secure a majority vote for impeachment.
While former President Donald Trump was impeached twice and former President Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998, no Cabinet secretary has been impeached since War Secretary William Belknap in 1876. Neither Belknap nor either of the presidents was convicted in the Senate, where a two-thirds majority vote is required.
Mayorkas “has willfully and systematically refused to comply with the law passed by Congress and breached the trust of Congress and the American people,” Committee Chairman Mike Green said during his opening remarks at Tuesday’s daylong hearing. He said the secretary has left the committee with no other option but to proceed with impeachment.
Mayorkas, who did not testify in front of the committee, has denied the accusations.
In a letter to the committee, he said, “I assure you that your false accusations do not rattle me and do not divert me from the law enforcement and broader public service mission to which I have devoted most of my career and to which I remain devoted.”
In the letter, he also urged the committee to work with the Biden administration to update the country’s “broken and outdated immigration laws.”
Negotiations on a bill to toughen the nation’s immigration laws are stalled in Congress, with some Republicans refusing to consider any compromise on their hard-line proposals.
Some material for this report came from The Associated Press.