Mayorkas Impeachment Charges Set for Vote in House Panel - The World News

Mayorkas Impeachment Charges Set for Vote in House Panel

The House Homeland Security Committee is expected to approve articles of impeachment on Tuesday against Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, as Republicans race forward with a partisan indictment of President Biden’s immigration policies.

In what is expected to be a party-line vote, the panel is poised to charge Mr. Mayorkas with refusing to uphold the law and breaching the public trust in his handling of a surge of migrants across the United States border with Mexico, paving the way for a vote of the full House as early as next week.

Republicans are pressing forward despite staunch opposition from Democrats and an emerging consensus among legal scholars that they have produced no evidence that the secretary has committed high crimes and misdemeanors, the standard for impeachment.

The charges are all but certain to collapse in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where a two-thirds majority would be required to convict and remove Mr. Mayorkas. But if they pass the House, they will force an election-year trial in which Republicans will have the chance to air their indictment of Mr. Biden’s immigration policies.

In a letter to the panel on Tuesday, Mr. Mayorkas, whom Republicans did not allow to testify publicly in his own defense after a scheduling dispute, forcefully contested the charges, which accuse him of flouting laws requiring the deportation of migrants and stymieing congressional investigations by withholding information and lying about the state of the border.

“You claim that we have failed to enforce our immigration laws. That is false,” Mr. Mayorkas wrote. He said Republicans’ allegation that he obstructed their inquiries was “baseless and inaccurate.”

The G.O.P.’s investigation of Mr. Mayorkas is culminating as a bipartisan group of senators races to finalize a border security deal the secretary helped negotiate. But the agreement faces grim prospects as Republicans, egged on by former President Donald J. Trump, have denounced it as too weak and Speaker Mike Johnson has declared it “dead on arrival” in the House.

Mr. Biden has implored Congress to approve the plan, promising to “shut down the border” if it becomes law.

Democrats have argued that Republicans are impeaching Mr. Mayorkas as part of a strategy to keep the border in chaos so Mr. Trump, who is once again marching toward the G.O.P. presidential nomination, can capitalize on public dissatisfaction with Mr. Biden’s handling of it and campaign on a pledge to fix it.

“Republicans are perpetuating challenges at the border to help re-elect Donald Trump,” Democrats on the homeland security panel wrote in a report, arguing that the G.O.P. was trying to make Mr. Mayorkas a scapegoat for problems only Congress could solve.

“They are playing the political blame game to deflect attention from their failure to take meaningful action on border security and immigration legislation and provide necessary border security funding,” the report said.

Republicans argue that the Constitution offers ample latitude to impeach an official over what they call his “ill behavior” toward the law.

“His refusal to obey the law is not only an offense against the separation of powers in the Constitution of the United States, it also threatens our national security and has had a dire impact on communities across the country,” one impeachment article says.

Democrats say Republicans are bowing to the hard right by seeking to use a severe constitutional punishment against Mr. Mayorkas.

“This is a political stunt and a hit job,” Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the minority leader, told reporters on Monday. “The House Republicans have clearly turned their ever-shrinking majority over to the extremists, and this sham impeachment of Secretary Mayorkas is just another sad example.”

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