House Delivers Impeachment Articles Against Mayorkas, Calling for a Trial


After two months of delay, House Republicans on Tuesday delivered articles of impeachment against Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, to the Senate, as they demanded a full trial of the first sitting cabinet secretary to be impeached by Congress.

Constitutional scholars have called the case against Mr. Mayorkas groundless, and the Democrats who control the Senate have made it clear that they want to curtail a lengthy trial in favor of a quick vote to dismiss the charges against him. But Republicans have pushed ahead with the articles, which accuse the secretary of willfully refusing to enforce border laws and breaching the public trust.

“For the last nearly four years, we’ve seen Secretary Mayorkas willfully cede operational control of our border to drug cartels,” Speaker Mike Johnson said on Tuesday, describing the chaos at the country’s southern border as he urged the Senate to take up the case.

“We’ve seen exploding numbers of terrorists being encountered at the border,” he added. “We’ve seen gang members and people with criminal backgrounds be released into our country. We’ve seen fentanyl flood over the border.”

He accused Mr. Mayorkas and President Biden of intentionally failing in their responsibilities to secure the border.

“He and Joe Biden engineered this catastrophe,” Mr. Johnson said. “They allowed it. They apparently desired it.”

On Tuesday afternoon, the 11 House Republicans named to prosecute the case against Mr. Mayorkas made the ceremonial walk across the Capitol to present the charges, which they read aloud on the floor as all senators sat silently at their desks.

The Republican case against Mr. Mayorkas does not accuse him of any specific criminal conduct, but rather amounts to an attempt to fire an administration official who is enforcing policies they oppose and who they argue is failing at his job. That is a far cry from the “high crimes and misdemeanors” laid out in the Constitution as the basis for an impeachment.

The House barely approved the articles in February over unanimous Democratic opposition, after they were initially defeated because not enough Republicans were present in the closely divided chamber to push them through. Since then, G.O.P. leaders have delayed sending them to the Senate, toiling to find the right moment to begin a proceeding that is all but certain to result in their effort to remove Mr. Mayorkas failing.

A two-thirds majority would be needed to convict him in the Senate, an unachievable threshold given that Democrats are solidly opposed.

Senior Senate Republicans and Democrats were negotiating on Tuesday over how to structure the trial, which is to formally commence on Wednesday afternoon when senators are sworn in as jurors. They were discussing allowing Republicans to debate and offer a series of procedural objections on Wednesday before Mr. Schumer moved to dismiss the two charges. But such an agreement would require all members to go along, even those dead set on a trial, and it was not clear whether Republicans would seek to prolong the proceedings.

“Impeachment should never be used to settle a policy disagreement,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, said on Tuesday before the charges were transmitted. “Talk about awful precedents. This would set an awful precedent for Congress. Every time there’s a policy disagreement in the House, they send it over here and tie the Senate in knots to do an impeachment trial? That’s absurd. That’s an abuse of the process. That is more chaos.”

At a news conference after the articles were delivered, Republicans from both chambers dared Democrats to allow a trial that would highlight the issues affecting the border.

“We’re ready to go, Mr. Schumer,” said Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona, one of the impeachment managers. “We’re ready to go.”

For his part, Mr. Mayorkas has spent months essentially ignoring the case and continuing to work. He negotiated a border security deal with both Senate Republicans and Democrats that fell apart after former President Donald J. Trump opposed it.

“When I say that I am not focused on the impeachment proceedings, I actually mean it,” Mr. Mayorkas said in an interview. “I will say this, that it is my hope that my time is not taken away from my work.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Mayorkas began his day on Capitol Hill talking about his agency’s budget request and calling on Congress to provide the department with more resources to enforce border laws, hire more personnel and pass the legislation he negotiated.

He said that in the past 11 months, his agency has returned or removed more than 630,000 people from the country who did not have a legal basis to stay.

“Our immigration system, however, is fundamentally broken,” he said. “Only Congress can fix it. Congress has not updated our immigration enforcement laws since 1996 — 28 years ago.”

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the top Republican in the Senate, slammed Mr. Schumer’s plans to dismiss the case.

“Never before has the Senate agreed to a motion to table articles of impeachment,” Mr. McConnell said. “Not for an officer of either party. Not once.”

He added that “it would be beneath the Senate’s dignity to shrug off our clear responsibility and fail to give the charges we’ll hear today the thorough consideration they deserve.”

Mr. McConnell did not mention that he voted in favor of an unsuccessful effort in 2021 to dismiss a second impeachment case against Mr. Trump over the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol before the Senate held a trial.

Among the Republicans Mr. Johnson appointed as impeachment managers are Representatives Mark E. Green of Tennessee, the Homeland Security Committee chairman, and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who pushed the conference to impeach Mr. Mayorkas.

Mia Ehrenberg, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, blasted the impeachment effort.

“Despite warnings from fellow Republicans that this baseless impeachment effort ‘distorts the Constitution,’ House Republicans continue to ignore the facts and undermine the Constitution by wasting even more time on this sham impeachment in the Senate,” she said in a statement.

[colabot2]

Leave a Comment