The House Homeland Security Committee is expected to approve articles of impeachment against Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the secretary of Homeland Security, on Tuesday, as Republicans move forward with a partisan indictment of President Biden's immigration policies.
In what is expected to be a party-line vote, the panel is poised to accuse Mayorkas of refusing to follow the law and violating the public trust in his handling of a surge of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border. paving the way for a full House vote next week.
Republicans are pressing ahead despite staunch opposition from Democrats and an emerging consensus among legal scholars that they have failed to present evidence that the secretary committed high crimes and misdemeanors, the standard for impeachment.
The charges will almost certainly collapse in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where a two-thirds majority would be needed to convict and remove Mayorkas. But if they are approved by the House, they will force a trial in an election year in which Republicans will have the opportunity to express their criticism of Biden's immigration policies.
In a letter to the panel on Tuesday, Mayorkas, who was not allowed by Republicans to testify publicly in his own defense after a scheduling dispute, vigorously contested the charges, which accuse him of disobeying laws requiring the deportation of immigrants and hinder congressional investigations. withholding information and lying about the status of the border.
“You claim that we have failed to enforce our immigration laws. That is false,” Mayorkas wrote. He said Republicans' accusation that he obstructed their investigations was “baseless and inaccurate.”
The GOP investigation into Mayorkas is culminating as a bipartisan group of senators compete to finalize a border security deal the secretary helped negotiate. But the deal faces bleak prospects as Republicans, encouraged by former President Donald J. Trump, have denounced it as too weak and Speaker Mike Johnson has declared it “dead on arrival” in the House.
Biden has implored Congress to approve the plan and promised to “close the border” if it becomes law.
Democrats have argued that Republicans are impeaching Mayorkas as part of a strategy to keep the border in chaos so that Trump, once again marching toward the GOP presidential nomination, can capitalize on public dissatisfaction with Biden's handling of it. and campaign with the commitment to solve it.
“Republicans are perpetuating challenges at the border to help re-elect Donald Trump,” Democrats on the national security panel wrote in a report, arguing that the GOP was trying to make Mayorkas a scapegoat for the problems he faced. only Congress could resolve.
“They are playing the political blame game to divert attention from their failure to take meaningful action on border security and immigration legislation and provide needed funding for border security,” the report says.
Republicans argue that the Constitution offers broad latitude to impeach an official for what they call his “misconduct” toward the law.
“Their refusal to obey the law is not only a crime against the separation of powers established in the United States Constitution, but it also threatens our national security and has had a dire impact on communities across the country,” says a article of impeachment.
Democrats say Republicans are caving in to the far right by trying to bring harsh constitutional punishment to Mayorkas.
“This is a political stunt and a coup,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the minority leader, told reporters on Monday. “House Republicans have clearly surrendered their shrinking majority to extremists, and this sham impeachment of Secretary Mayorkas is just another sad example.”
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