The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly defeated an effort on Feb. 6 to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by a vote of 214-216. Nearly every House Republican voted for the resolution despite presenting no evidence that he committed high crimes and misdemeanors.
The resolution, authored by Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, did not specify any actual illegal acts, instead accusing him of “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and “breach of the public trust.”
All 212 Democrats and Republican Reps. Ken Buck (CO), Mike Gallagher (WI), and Tom McClintock (CA) voted no. House Republican Caucus Chair Blake Moore (UT) also backed the effort, but switched his vote to no at the last minute for procedural reasons, allowing him to move to reconsider and potentially force another vote later.
Republicans charge that Mayorkas failed to follow the law when he and his team issued guidelines in 2021 to prioritize in immigration law enforcement “the apprehension and removal of noncitizens who are a threat to our national security, public safety, and border security and advance the interests of justice by ensuring a case-by-case assessment of whether an individual poses a threat.” Congress has failed to enact comprehensive immigration reform, and border security agents have been stretched thin by an immigration spike that began in 2005.
California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock said in a Feb. 6 letter to colleagues that the articles of impeachment “fail to identify an impeachable crime that Mayorkas has committed.”
No Cabinet secretary has been impeached since 1876.
The impeachment attempt came as the Republican majority in the House has struggled to enact the legislation promised in its 2022 “Commitment to America” to boost the economy, protect public safety, protect freedom, and hold the government accountable. Mired in intraparty fighting, it passed almost no legislation in 2023 and saw just 34 bills and resolutions become law in the entire year — well below the average in recent decades.
Trump was impeached in 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to his attempts to delay security aid to Ukraine in an effort to pressure its government to dig up dirt on his political opponents. He was again impeached in 2021 on charges of inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. In both cases, he was acquitted by the Senate.
Days after taking office, Fitzgerald opposed the January 2021 impeachment, writing: “If the Speaker was truly interested in healing the divisions in our country, then she would not be calling for this drastic and unprecedented action. The Speaker has turned this process into political theater that will not help the nation move forward. The American people deserve better.”
On Jan, 31, he tweeted a thread from Republicans on the House Committee on Homeland Security defending the impeachment of Mayorkas, adding: “Sec. Mayorkas even admitted himself at a @JudiciaryGOP hearing that he does not have operational control over the border. Inaction demands consequences.”
Grothman opposed the 2019 impeachment, writing: “The impeachment inquiry, which had bipartisan opposition, took the lion’s share of the focus this week. Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leadership spent far too much time and taxpayer money on an unfair, unfounded investigation. I am glad that Congress was able to quickly move past that distraction and deliver a win for the American economy and our workers.”
“Today, I voted against an intemperate attempt to impeach President Donald Trump,” he said in January 2021. “Hopefully now that today’s vote is finished, Congress can get on to dealing with the important issues of the day, including fighting ‘cancel culture,’ ending the COVID-19 outbreak, improving our broken health care system and securing our borders.”
After voting against the 2019 impeachment, Steil told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “I think what you see is the whole impeachment process, it has exacerbated the partisanship in Washington, D.C.,” adding: “”I voted against impeachment. I’d rather that we weren’t in this process in the first place.”
“I oppose Pelosi’s efforts to impeach President Trump. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have already tried and failed to remove President Trump through impeachment. Enough already!” Steil wrote in January 2021. “From the riots in Kenosha, Portland, Chicago, Minneapolis and dozens of other cities to what happened in D.C. this week, what we need right now is leaders to tone down their actions, not enflame the situation.”
“House Democrats are playing politics less than a year before Election Day when they should be concerned about issues such as jobs, trade and border security,” Tiffany wrote in a December 2019 op-ed opposing impeachment, months before winning his House seat in a special election.
He opposed the 2021 impeachment as “another partisan effort to remove the president from office,” writing, “It is now time for all of us – Democrats and Republicans alike – to turn down the temperature, condemn criminal violence and intimidation on all sides, stop the political score-settling, and move on with the business of the American people.”
Rep. Derrick Van Orden was not in Congress at the time of either vote.