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7 Feb, 2024 00:05

US border and immigration chief survives impeachment vote

House Republicans have failed to remove Alejandro Mayorkas from office by a razor-thin margin
US border and immigration chief survives impeachment vote

The US House of Representatives has voted against impeaching Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday. Republicans have accused Mayorkas of failing to deal with the influx of migrants illegally crossing the border with Mexico.

The motion to bring impeachment charges was defeated in a 214-216 vote.

Four Republicans joined the Democrats in refusing to back the ouster. According to the Hill, the Republicans had expected that two of their colleagues would vote ‘no’, but two more House GOP lawmakers – Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Blake Moore of Utah – voted against the motion as well. Moore switched his vote to ‘no’ a second before the vote closed, the Hill reported. 

Another Republican – House Majority Leader Steve Scalise – was away for a medical treatment and missed the vote. 

Republicans have argued that Mayorkas has failed to enforce the law to secure the southern border. Democrats have countered by insisting that the secretary has not committed any action that would warrant his removal. 

“Impeachment over mere policy disputes was deliberately rejected by the framers [of the US Constitution], and those disputes are best settled in the court system,” Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, said. 

The vote took place amid a standoff between the GOP and President Joe Biden over spending bills. The Republicans refused to back Biden’s omnibus bill that would provide additional aid to Ukraine and Israel unless the White House agrees to the tightening of border security and immigration procedures.

As compromise, the GOP proposed to pass a stand-alone $17.6 billion Israel bill. However, the legislation was voted down by the House on Tuesday, after Biden threatened to veto it.

The Republicans have refused to support Biden’s bill, with House Speaker Mike Johnson saying the proposed law “won’t come close to ending the border catastrophe the president has created.”

Biden’s main rival for reelection, former president Donald Trump, also blasted the White House immigration bill, describing it as “a sophisticated trap for Republicans.”