In a recent House vote, Republicans failed in their attempt to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, temporarily ending a brewing threat against the Cabinet secretary. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia, a hard-right Republican, forced a vote on Mayorkas’ impeachment using a rule that enables any single member to initiate a snap vote. However, the resolution was ultimately sent to committees for further consideration, with no obligation for action.
The call for impeachment is an extraordinary move, as it is typically reserved for severe misconduct in office. In this case, it is being used to target Mayorkas for his handling of the immigration crisis at the southern border. The vote, along with its support from GOP members, highlights a growing willingness to employ Congress’ most powerful tool and redefine what “high crimes and misdemeanors” mean under the Constitution. Impeaching a Cabinet official based on policy decisions would be unprecedented.
During her floor speech, Greene accused Mayorkas of consistently violating US laws, citing the record numbers of illegal border crossings, drug influx, and his alleged support for “open border policies.” The impeachment resolution accuses Mayorkas of failing to uphold his oath to defend and secure the country while upholding the Constitution.
Following the vote, Greene expressed her intention to make another attempt at pushing an impeachment vote, believing that her colleagues will face pressure from their constituents to remove Mayorkas. She criticized fellow Republicans, claiming they were out of touch with their voters.
Notably, several prominent Republicans, including House GOP whip Tom Emmer and Rep. Tony Gonzales, voiced support for Greene’s resolution. They are part of a longstanding effort in the GOP to impeach Mayorkas. Meanwhile, Mayorkas has maintained during congressional hearings that he is dedicated to securing the border and enforcing the law.
Responding to the vote, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) criticized the House Majority for wasting time on baseless attacks, highlighting Mayorkas’ commitment to keeping Americans safe.
Greene’s impeachment resolution also refers to the influx of migrants as an “invasion.” Immigration advocates condemned her use of this term, suggesting it reflects her endorsement of the racist “great replacement theory” that alleges a plot to diminish the influence of white people in society.
Republicans have been closely examining the Biden administration’s handling of the border with Mexico for months, seeking to build a case for Mayorkas’ impeachment. However, Greene grew frustrated with the slow progress of these inquiries and pointed to a fatal car crash in Texas involving a driver suspected of smuggling people. The incident further fueled her push for impeachment.
This renewed effort to impeach Mayorkas presents an additional challenge for House Speaker Mike Johnson, who is already dealing with the possibility of an impeachment vote and delicate negotiations over government funding to prevent a federal shutdown. Johnson has previously expressed support for an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
It is crucial to note that only one U.S. cabinet official has ever been impeached: Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876. He was found to have received kickback payments while handling government contracts during a House investigation.