House Votes to Impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas


The US House of Representatives has narrowly voted to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, marking the first impeachment of a cabinet member in almost 150 years. Many Republicans attribute the unprecedented surge of migrants at the US-Mexico border to Mr Mayorkas. The Republican-majority House voted 214 to 213 in favor of the impeachment, following a failed attempt last week. The matter will now proceed to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it is expected to be unsuccessful.

President Joe Biden labeled the vote as an “unconstitutional act of partisanship” and a “political maneuver”. Critics of Mr Mayorkas accuse him of failing to fulfill his oath of office by not doing enough to secure the border. The vote was primarily split along party lines, with 210 Democrats and three Republicans opposing the impeachment.

The three Republican representatives who voted against the impeachment were Tom McClintock of California, Ken Buck of Colorado, and Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin. They also opposed the initial impeachment attempt, arguing that impeaching someone without a serious crime would undermine the constitutional penalty and not address the border crisis.

Immigration has become a contentious political issue with over 6.3 million migrants entering the US illegally since 2021. The issue is central to Donald Trump’s campaign to unseat President Biden.

Following the vote, President Biden defended Mr Mayorkas, describing him as an “honorable public servant”. Mia Ehrenberg, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, accused Republicans of prioritizing “trampling on the constitution” over addressing the border challenges.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson argued that Mr Mayorkas “deserves to be impeached”, accusing him of failing to enforce immigration policies and misrepresenting border security during two hearings in January.

The impeachment process requires a simple majority in the House and a two-thirds majority in the Senate. However, it is unlikely to pass in the Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Democrats. The House is set to present the impeachment articles to the Senate on February 26.

The last cabinet secretary to be impeached was Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876. A recent CBS poll indicates that nearly half of Americans perceive the border situation as a crisis, with 63% advocating for stricter border policies. The US Customs and Border Protection agency reported a 50% decrease in border crossings in January, attributing it to “seasonal trends and enhanced enforcement efforts”.

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