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U.S. House of Representatives votes to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas

The impeachment process is the first phase of extracting a U.S. official for “high crimes or misdemeanors,” and the second phase is a trial held in the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats

Juicio político a Mayorkas
Alejandro Mayorkas | EFE

February 14, 2024 12:21am

Updated: February 14, 2024 12:21am

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday, a historical move that makes the DHS head the first cabinet member to face the expulsion process in about 150 years. 

The last cabinet secretary to be impeached was Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876.

The current charges against Mayorkas stem from Republican concerns that he is directly responsible for the massive influx of migrants crossing the southwest border.

The House narrowly voted 214 to 213 in favor of impeachment, after an earlier vote fell short. The impeachment charges will now head to the Senate which is controlled by the Democratic Party.

Republicans have accused Mayorkas of selectively enforcing immigration law and misleading the American public about security at the southwest border. 

Per the Constitution, impeachment is a process that dictates that the Senate holds a trial after the House votes to start the impeachment process, and is the first phase of extracting a U.S. official for “high crimes or misdemeanors.”

While impeachment charges only require a simple majority in the House, a conviction in the Senate is much harder to come by, requiring a 2/3 vote in support to prevail. To date, no impeached president has ever been convicted.

According to reports in Washington, the House of Representatives is planning to send the articles of to the Senate on Feb. 26, a chamber that unlike the House, is controlled by Democrats.

As a result, the impeachment trial is likely to result in an acquittal.

President Biden blasted the Tuesday vote, calling it a “blatant act of unconstitutional partisanship” and a “political stunt.”

But Republicans have said the DHS secretary is violating his oath to “well and faithfully discharge the duties” of his office by disregarding security the border. 

Further evidence that the measure will fail in the Senate is the party line vote in the House.

A total of 210 Democrats voted against impeaching Mayorkas with only three Republican representatives: Ken Buck of Colorado, Tom McClintock of California, and Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin. 

The three Republican congressmen justified their vote by saying the impeachment process should relate to a serious crime, and overcharging a more minor offense, would lessen the constitutional penalty.

Since Biden took office in January 2021, more than 6.3 million migrants have illegally crossed the U.S. border. making immigration a significant issue in the November 2024 election.

It has become a top issue for former President Donald Trump, and a driving force throughout the ‘Make America Great Again’ movement throughout the United States.  

A CBS January poll suggests that almost half of Americans view the border influx as a crisis, with 63% calling for "tougher" security.

Biden stood by his DHS secretary, calling him “an honorable public servant.”

He added that the secretary “has upheld the rule of law faithfully and has demonstrated a deep commitment to the values that make our nation great," the president said.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republicans, said Mayorkas “deserves to be impeached.”

Mia Ehrenberg, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security said Republicans were “trampling on the constitution” instead of "working to solve the serious challenges at our border.”

Republicans narrowly prevailed after House Majority Leader Steve Scalise unexpectedly showed up to vote amid cancer treatment. He missed the previous vote, partially giving Democrats the edge they needed to shield Mayorkas from an impeachment referral to the Senate.

Executive Editor

Gelet Martínez Fragela

Gelet Martínez Fragela is the founder and editor-in-chief of ADN America. She is a Cuban journalist, television producer, and political refugee who also founded ADN Cuba.