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Republicans have voted to advance Mayorkas impeachment. What happens now?

Republican members of the Homeland Security Committee voted to impeach Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday morning.

The decision, opposed by House Democrats, comes after articles of impeachment accused Mr Mayorkas of “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” by allowing the release of migrants awaiting legal proceedings and breached “public trust” when he told lawmakers the US-Mexico border was secure.

Committee Republicans voted in favour of moving forward with impeachment, while Democrats voted against it in an 18-15 decision. A vote in the House of Representatives is next, and it could happen as early as next week.

The House of Representatives could vote on the articles of impeachment against Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as soon as next week (Getty Images)
The House of Representatives could vote on the articles of impeachment against Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as soon as next week (Getty Images)

If the articles pass the House, the Senate will hold an impeachment trial and would require a two-thirds majority to convict.

“We cannot allow this man to remain in office any longer,” Representative Mark Green, committee chairman and a Republican from Tennessee, said.

In a letter to Mr Green on Tuesday, Mr Mayorkas called the allegations that he has failed to enforce immigration laws “false.”

“We have provided Congress and your Committee hours of testimony, thousands of documents, hundreds of briefings, and much more information that demonstrates quite clearly how we are enforcing the law,” the letter provided by the DHS reads.

Meanwhile, Democrats argue that Mr Mayorkas is acting under his legal authority as Secretary and that the criticisms against him do not rise to the level of impeachment.

“This is a terrible day for the committee, the United States, the Constitution and our great country,” Representative Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, said.

More than just Congressional Democrats have spoken out against the impeachment. As The New York Times reports, US Constitution scholars, previous secretaries of homeland security and some former legal advisers to former president Donald Trump have all condemned the articles, arguing Mr Mayorkas has not hit the bar of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that impeachment requires.

If the House votes in favour of the articles, Mr Mayorkas will become the second cabinet member in US history to face impeachment. The last cabinet member impeached was Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876.