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On Tuesday night, the House narrowly voted to impeach Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Such a vote of 214-213, which took place thanks to House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) being back from his cancer treatment, happened one week after the House failed to do so. Mayorkas now becomes only the second cabinet member ever impeached, and the first since 1876. 

Per CNN’s Manu Raju, House Republicans had expressed confidence beforehand that they had the necessary votes to impeach. The vote, originally planned for 6:30, was delayed by close to an hour as the House first voted to pass a human trafficking prevention bill and then had to reconsider the motion to impeach Mayorkas. 

At one point, when the vote was tied at 213-213, Democrats could be heard shouting for order. More noise was heard when the vote came down at 214-213, as members applauded when Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announced that the resolution to impeach Mayorkas was adopted. It also sounded as if at least one Democrat could be heard shouting “shame.”

All Democrats voted last week against the effort to impeach Mayorkas–just as they did this week. Texas Rep. Al Green even made a dramatic entrance last week in a hospital gown and without shoes, coming from the hospital after he had had an operation days before. Three Republicans also did so, though, including Reps. Ken Buck of Colorado, Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, and Tom McClintock of California. Buck already announced his retirement months before, and Gallagher has since announced he would be retiring, though he cited the amount of time he had been in the House and his family as his reasons. 

It was shared last Monday by Fox News’ Chad Pergram that the impeachment managers would include House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green (R-TN) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who were both instrumental in such an effort. Other names mentioned include Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Guest (R-MS), as well as Reps. Clay Higgins (R-LA), Ben Cline (R-VA), Andy Biggs (R-AZ),  Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), August Pfluger (R-TX) Harriet Hageman (R-WY), and Laurel Lee (R-FL).  

Chairman Green released a lengthy statement praising the vote not long after Mayorkas was impeached, also speaking to how the House will not tolerate such “lawlessness” on the issue, and urging the Senate to remove Mayorkas:

“With today’s vote, Congress has taken decisive action to defend our constitutional order and hold accountable a public official who has violated his oath of office. 
“The House Committee on Homeland Security’s investigation and subsequent impeachment proceedings demonstrated beyond any doubt that Secretary Mayorkas has willfully and systemically refused to comply with the laws of the United States, and breached the public trust. As a result, our country has suffered from an unprecedented border crisis that has turned every state into a border state, causing untold suffering in communities across our country. With this vote, Congress has made clear that we will not tolerate such lawlessness.
“We have put forward legislative solutions to the border crisis in H.R. 2, the ‘Secure the Border Act.’ We have now conducted oversight and held Secretary Mayorkas accountable. We will continue to fight on behalf of the American people to end this crisis. I urge the Senate to do the right thing and remove Secretary Mayorkas from office following a thorough trial.”

 The timing for such a vote was critical, since, subsequently, the Republican majority in the House shrank even further as a result of former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi winning back his seat for the special election in New York’s 3rd Congressional District. In stark contrast to the multiple votes it’s taken to impeach Mayorkas, House Republicans have had no problem going after their own, as many joined in to expel now former Rep. George Santos. Suozzi had retired to run a failed primary campaign against Gov. Kathy Hochul in 2022. 

The vote took place just hours after the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released their border numbers from January, as Spencer covered. Although the 176,205 illegal immigrant encounters were a drop from last December’s all-time monthly record of over 300,000, it still set a record for January encounters.

Days before the vote, Mayorkas had appeared on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.” In response to host Kristen Welker pointing out that Republicans charge Mayorkas with “willfully” not following the law, the secretary laughably claimed “they’re baseless allegations,” adding “that’s why I really am not distracted by them and focused on the work of the Department of Homeland Security.”

As Welker pushed back, though, pointing out that “more migrants have crossed the border illegally last year than ever before, the asylum cases backlog has more than tripled since 2019,” and that “you yourself have said that more than 85 percent of migrants caught crossing the border illegally are being released into the U.S. as they await their court dates,” Mayorkas responded as many Democrats, including President Joe Biden himself have, by claiming “we need legislation to fix what everyone agrees is a broken immigration system.” 

Such claims come despite how Biden already has the authority to enforce the law and secure the border. He not only chooses not to do so, but he signed an executive order on his first day in office ending the emergency at the southern border and putting a stop to the construction of the border wall. 

Stunningly, Mayorkas denied responsibility. “It certainly is a crisis, and, well, we don’t bear responsibility for a broken system, and we’re doing a tremendous amount within that broken system. But, fundamentally, Congress is the only one who can fix that,” he claimed as he doubled down on blaming others.

As Welker tried to call Mayorkas out for his claims that the southern border is indeed secure, the secretary danced around the question. She also asked why the president didn’t just shut down the border, but once more, Mayorkas stuck to the need for legislation that was so panned, that the Senate had to remove such language from the foreign aid bill they did vote on and pass, although it’s already almost certainly dead in the House. 

RealClearPolling shows that just 32.2 approve while 63.4 percent disapprove of how the president is handling immigration, making it his worst issue. Countless polls also show that the American people prefer former and potentially future President Donald Trump on immigration, as they do with many more issues.

The immigration issue and the crisis at the southern border will no doubt continue to haunt Biden as he insists he’s running for reelection, and his administration. Good riddance.