Republican-Led House to Vote on Impeaching Mayorkas Over Border - The World News

Republican-Led House to Vote on Impeaching Mayorkas Over Border

The House is set to vote on Tuesday on impeaching Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, on charges that he has willfully refused to enforce border laws and breached the public trust, as Republicans pursue a partisan indictment of President Biden’s immigration policies.

Republicans are pressing forward despite the assessment of legal experts, including some prominent conservatives, that Mr. Mayorkas has not committed high crimes and misdemeanors, the constitutional threshold for impeachment. If they succeed, which would take near unanimity among the G.O.P. given the party’s tiny majority, Mr. Mayorkas would become the only sitting cabinet member to be impeached in American history.

The move is an escalation of Republicans’ efforts to attack Mr. Biden and Democrats over immigration, as the two parties clash over how best to secure the border during an election year when the issue is expected to take center stage in the presidential campaign.

House Republican are pushing forward with the impeachment as they work to kill a bipartisan deal that emerged in the Senate pairing a fresh infusion of funding for Ukraine with a border crackdown. They have argued that the measure is too weak and that neither Mr. Biden nor Mr. Mayorkas can be trusted to secure the border.

With Democrats solidly opposed to the impeachment effort and expected Republican absences, Republicans can afford to lose no more than two of their own members on the vote. One Republican, Representative Ken Buck of Colorado, has already stated his opposition, and a handful of others have yet to declare their positions.

Leaders of the impeachment effort, however, have expressed confidence that Mr. Mayorkas will be indicted.

“It is unambiguous that Secretary Mayorkas has refused to comply with federal immigration laws and acted in a manner subversive to the rule of law,” said Representative Mark E. Green, Republican of Tennessee and the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, which prepared the charges, arguing that Mr. Mayorkas’s actions had led to “chaos and destruction across our land.”

If Mr. Mayorkas is impeached, the charges would go to the Democratic-led Senate for a trial where he is all but certain to be acquitted. Leaders have yet to say whether they would hold a full trial, in which a two-thirds majority would be needed to convict the homeland security secretary, or try to dismiss the charges outright without hearing them.

The measure slated for a vote on Tuesday also would appoint 11 impeachment managers to argue the case against Mr. Mayorkas in the Senate, including Mr. Green and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, who has led the charge to bring him up on constitutional charges and seek his removal. The group also includes Representatives Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ben Cline of Virginia, Clay Higgins of Louisiana, Andrew Garbarino of New York, Michael Guest of Mississippi, Harriet M. Hageman of Wyoming, Laurel Lee of Florida, Michael McCaul of Texas and August Pfluger of Texas.

House Democrats have roundly rejected the impeachment effort, accusing Republicans of misusing a constitutional tool meant to be used only against officials who have committed crimes or abused their offices.

“This sham impeachment effort isn’t really about border security; it’s about Republican politics and subversion of the Constitution,” said Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the senior Democrat on the homeland security panel, accusing Republicans of “taking their marching orders from Donald Trump.”

The influence of Mr. Trump as he tries to return to the White House has loomed large over the immigration debate on Capitol Hill, particularly when it comes to the Senate’s border deal, which he has been campaigning against. House Republicans have also frequently cited his immigration legacy as they make their case against Mr. Mayorkas, whom they accuse of dismantling the former president’s border policies for political purposes.

The first article of impeachment accuses Mr. Mayorkas of replacing Trump-era policies such as the program commonly called Remain in Mexico, which required many migrants to wait at the southwestern border for their immigration court dates, with “catch and release” policies that allowed swaths of migrants to roam free in the United States. They charge that he ignored multiple mandates of the Immigration and Nationality Act stating that migrants “shall be detained” pending decisions on asylum and removal orders, and acted beyond his authority to parole migrants into the country.

Democrats have pushed back forcefully, noting that Mr. Mayorkas, like previous homeland security secretaries, has the right to set policies to manage the waves of migrants arriving at the border. That includes allowing certain migrants into the country temporarily on humanitarian grounds and prioritizing which migrants to detain, particularly when working with limited resources.

The second article accuses Mr. Mayorkas of breaching the public trust by misrepresenting the state of the border, and stymieing congressional efforts to investigate him. Republicans base those accusations on an assertion by Mr. Mayorkas in 2022 that his department had “operational control” over the border, which is defined under a 2006 statute as the absence of any unlawful crossings of migrants or drugs. Mr. Mayorkas has said he was referring instead to a less absolute definition used by the Border Patrol.

They also accuse Mr. Mayorkas of having failed to produce documents, including materials he was ordered to give them under subpoena, during an investigation into his border policies and evading their efforts to get him to testify as part of their impeachment proceedings. Administration officials have countered that Mr. Mayorkas has produced tens of thousands of pages of documents in accordance with the panel’s requests. He offered to testify in person, but Republicans on the panel rescinded their invitation for him to appear after the two sides encountered scheduling problems.

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