US House GOP committee to move forward with impeachment of Border Chief Mayorkas
Written by Ted Hesson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Republican-led US House of Representatives committee on Tuesday plans to discuss impeachment charges against the Democratic president. Joe BidenThe country’s top border official, a near-unprecedented move that comes as political tensions over immigration rise.
The House Homeland Security Committee will consider two articles of impeachment targeting the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. The charges allege that Mayorkas intentionally encouraged illegal immigration with permissive policies and violated the public trust by making false statements to Congress.
Democrats have dismissed the impeachment effort as a political sham, and constitutional experts have said the political criticisms outlined by Republicans do not meet the high standards of misconduct set forth in impeachment. The only member of the Cabinet to be impeached by the House was former President Ulysses S. Grant’s Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876 after allegations of corruption. He was acquitted by the Senate.
Border security is a key issue for Republican voters concerned about the record number of migrants crossing the border illegally since Biden took office in 2021, and the party has made it a focus in the run-up to the Nov. 5 election that will decide control of the White House. House of Representatives and Congress.
Republicans are criticizing Biden for reversing the restrictive policies of former Republican President Donald Trump, the most prominent candidate for his party’s nomination to compete with Biden.
Mayorkas – a former federal prosecutor – defended his immigration enforcement record and commitment to government service in a letter scheduled to be sent Tuesday to Rep. Mark Green, the Republican chairman of the Homeland Committee.
“I assure you that your false accusations do not shake me or distract me from the mission of law enforcement and the broader public service to which I have devoted most of my professional life and to which I remain loyal,” Mayorkas wrote.
The House of Representatives is also conducting an impeachment inquiry into Biden himself, a move called for by some hard-line Republicans shortly after his 2020 election. Trump has been impeached twice during his four years in office, though Senate Republicans each time provided enough votes to acquit him.
The Biden administration says it aims to create a more orderly and humane immigration system, but the president has increasingly toughened his rhetoric. On Friday, he adopted a border deal not yet introduced in the Senate that would create sweeping authority to expel migrants to Mexico and said he would “close the border” if the bill passes.
Trump opposes this proposal, saying he does not want to make a deal with Democrats in an election year.
House Republicans say impeachment is necessary because Mayorkas has refused to detain immigrants apprehended at the border and has allowed too many aliens to enter legally through emergency “parole” programs.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, the top Democrat on the Home Affairs Committee, said in a statement Sunday that Republicans’ accusations against Mayorkas lacked “even the slightest evidence” to justify impeachment.
(Reporting by Ted Hesson in Washington; Editing by Scott Malone and Alistair Bell)