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14 Feb, 2024 00:38

US border and immigration chief impeached

The move marks the first time a cabinet secretary is being put on trial by Congress since 1876
US border and immigration chief impeached

The US House of Representatives has voted to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, accusing him of failing to deal with the influx of migrants illegally crossing the Mexico border.

The motion to bring impeachment charges against Mayorkas passed in a 214-213 vote on Tuesday, with only three Republicans joining all Democrats in voting against the measure.

In a 22-page motion, lawmakers said Mayorkas had refused to obey federal court decisions regarding the border crisis, saying he is responsible for the massive surge at the southern border. The filing also accused the official of misleading Congress, claiming he has “demonstrated he will remain a threat to national and border security” and “acted in a manner grossly incompatible with his duties and the rule of law.”

“Throughout his tenure as Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro N. Mayorkas has repeatedly violated laws enacted by Congress regarding immigration and border security,” the impeachment motion said. “In large part because of his unlawful conduct, millions of aliens have illegally entered the United States on an annual basis with many unlawfully remaining in the United States.”

Mayorkas survived an earlier impeachment effort last week in a narrow 214-216 vote, in which four GOP members sided with Democrats.

Both Democrats and the DHS have slammed the move, with California Rep. Tom McClintock saying the allegations against Mayorkas “stretch and distort the Constitution.” He also predicted the articles would face “repudiation” in the Senate, which will be tasked with convicting or acquitting the Homeland Security chief.

In a statement, DHS spokesperson Mia Ehrenberg said Republicans in the House would be “remembered by history for trampling on the Constitution for political gain rather than working to solve the serious challenges at our border.” 

Lawmakers have spent months wrangling over additional funding for border security amid a historic influx of migrants. Republicans have insisted that money be set aside for the border crisis before they agree to a multi-billion military aid package for Ukraine.