A coalition of top Hispanic civil rights and advocacy groups reached out to congressional leaders on Tuesday in opposition to impeachment proceedings against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
In a letter to Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the 19 organizations called on Congress to redirect its efforts toward a true immigration reform package.
“While we, too, have serious concerns about the challenges at our southern border and our immigration system as a whole, this does not warrant unfair and politically driven efforts to remove one of the highest-ranking Latinos in government, a member of the President’s Cabinet, and a longtime public servant who works to fulfill his oath of office in an exceedingly complex and polarized environment,” they wrote.
Hispanic and immigrant advocacy groups have been among the most strident critics of the Biden administration’s immigration and border security policies, a majority of which have been implemented by Mayorkas and his Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Yet Mayorkas as an individual holds a special place in the Latino political world: The Cuban-born son of a Romanian mother who fled the Holocaust, his double refugee status has endeared him to a community that values immigrant grit.
And while the policies implemented by Mayorkas have often riled Latino leaders, his calm and collected personal demeanor has maintained his credibility even as allies have turned into occasional foes.
“Secretary Mayorkas has demonstrated a consistent commitment to his role, balancing the complex challenges of immigration with a combination of firmness and compassion,” wrote the groups.
“While not all his decisions have been met with unanimous approval, including from the signers below and other voices within our community, we strongly urge Congress to redirect their efforts to working in a bipartisan manner toward humane and effective immigration reform that helps move the American people forward.”
The House Homeland Security Committee is spearheading the impeachment push against Mayorkas after articles of impeachment introduced by Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-Ga.) were remanded to the panel by a House floor vote.
The committee was marking up the articles of impeachment Tuesday in a hearing expected to stretch into the evening, and the full House could again vote on Mayorkas’s impeachment as early as next week.
The Latino groups echoed critics of the impeachment push, many of whom have watched incredulously as committee Republicans have stretched apparent policy differences to meet the constitutional standards of impeachment.
“The impeachment process driven by House Republicans is a sham,” wrote the groups.
“While we appreciate that some members of Congress may disagree with the Biden Administration on immigration policy and how Secretary Mayorkas fulfills his related duties, such policy disagreements are not a legitimate basis to accuse the Secretary of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ which is the Constitutional basis for impeachment. Federal officials have wide discretion over how to implement our laws and Secretary Mayorkas is working in good faith— despite decades of congressional inaction — to manage the challenges at our southern border.”
The letter’s signers include UnidosUS, the largest Latino civil rights group, and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the country’s oldest such organization, as well as immigration advocacy groups such as America’s Voice and CASA, and political advocacy groups including Voto Latino and the Latino Victory Project.
The organizations objected both to the direct attack against the first Latino to hold the top DHS job and to the normalization of “invasion” and “replacement theory”rhetoric in the current political debate.
“This type of language, borrowed directly from antisemitic, white nationalist rhetoric, makes Americans less safe and undermines Secretary Mayorkas’ efforts to protect the homeland. National security experts have indicated that the most lethal threat to the American people is domestic terrorism, which is often inspired by this extreme language now being used by sitting Members of Congress in their impeachment efforts,” they wrote.