Democrats issued a report Monday attacking Republicans’ arguments for impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas — their most forceful rebuttal yet as the GOP prepares to mark up articles to remove him from office.
The 29-page report offers a point-by-point breakdown of the GOP’s own 20-page impeachment articles, accusing the GOP of “turn[ing] to character assassination” of Mayorkas while failing to meet the constitutional requirements for the historic impeachment effort.
“House Republicans have produced no evidence that Secretary Mayorkas has committed an impeachable offense. House Republicans have produced no evidence that Secretary Mayorkas has violated the Constitution. House Republicans have produced no evidence that Secretary Mayorkas has broken the law,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said at a Monday press conference.
“This is a political stunt and a hit job ordered by two people: Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene.”
The GOP resolution includes two articles, one accusing Mayorkas of violating immigration laws — pointing to standards that have never been met under any administration — and one alleging he has committed a “breach of public trust.”
The resolution does not heavily feature earlier claims that Mayorkas is “derelict in hit duty” — largely a military phrase — and has violated his oath of office.
“After a number of false starts, Republicans have landed on ‘refusal to comply with the law’ and ‘breach of the public trust’ as the charges against Secretary Mayorkas. These vague, unprecedented, and fallacious charges amount to policy disputes with the Biden administration—and clearly do not pass muster as legitimate grounds for impeachment under the Constitution,” Democrats wrote in their report.
“The charges against Secretary Mayorkas are, at base, window dressing for a policy disagreement—not a valid basis for impeachment.”
Sources familiar with the proceedings expect an all-day markup of the resolution when it comes before the House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday, and Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has pledged to swiftly bring it to the full House floor, a move that could come as soon as next week.
But it’s unlikely to get traction in the Democratic-led Senate, where it would require a two-thirds vote to convict.
Still, it’s a historic endeavor, one that hasn’t been seen since the 1870s, when the secretary of War was impeached after taking kickbacks.
“They know that the standard for impeachment — bribery, treason, high crimes and misdemeanors — is a high one. They know that no secretary has been impeached or even close to it in over 150 years,” said Rep. Glenn Ivey (D-Md.), who sits on the Homeland Security Committee.
The report hits each of the main GOP arguments, including the central claim that includes a focus on language in the Immigration and Nationality Act that says migrants “shall” be detained.
But the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has never met that standard since that law was first passed in 1996; the standard is made impossible by having neither the bed space nor the funding to do so.
“Republicans’ criticism of DHS’s inability to detain all border crossers is hypocritical, as they have not funded the number of detention beds that would be necessary,” the report states.
The DHS has identified certain migrants as a priority for detention and removal, focusing first on those deemed a national security or public safety threat for the limited bed space.
But Ivey said Republicans are essentially upset about the concept of prosecutorial discretion, which gives law enforcement great power in determining who to prioritize.
“It’s not willful neglect of the law. It’s based on the fact that prosecutors can’t prosecute every case every time, and the Constitution gives the executive very broad discretion to make those decisions, and it’s especially true in the immigration area,” he said.
Democrats also attacked Republicans for failing to dedicate resources to the border and for carrying out Mayorkas’s impeachment while he is in the midst of negotiating an immigration deal with the Senate that includes key GOP priorities.
“They are impeaching the secretary for failing to secure the border while he is negotiating legislation to secure the border,” Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) said.
“If that is not irony, I don’t know what is.”