Watch Live: House committee holds first impeachment hearing for DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas

Caitlin Yilek

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Washington — House Republicans are moving forward with their effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for his handling of the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, with their first hearing on the matter getting underway Wednesday morning.

The hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee will feature testimony from attorneys general from Montana, Oklahoma and Missouri. The hearing was expected to focus on how states have been impacted by Mayorkas’ leadership. 

“Today is a solemn occasion as this committee begins official impeachment proceedings in the matter of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and his handling of America’s borders since taking office in February 2021,” GOP Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee, the committee’s chairman said. “Our evidence makes it clear: Secretary Mayorkas is the architect of the devastation that we have witnessed for nearly three years.”

Republicans have made border security a central theme ahead of the 2024 elections and are seeking to capitalize on the issue after an unprecedented number of migrants crossed the southern border at the end of last year. 

The Mayorkas impeachment push

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas responds to lawmakers' questions during a Senate hearing in Washington, D.C., on May 4, 2022.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas responds to lawmakers’ questions during a Senate hearing in Washington, D.C., on May 4, 2022.

Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images


House Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana led a delegation of more than 60 Republicans to the border last week. He called the trip an “eye opener,” saying they got a “first-hand look at the damage and chaos the border catastrophe is causing in all of our communities.” 

The hearing comes after House leaders last year stalled an effort by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to force a vote on impeaching Mayorkas. The Georgia Republican pulled her impeachment resolution after she said she received assurances from House leaders that her earlier effort would move forward at the committee level. 

Greene’s resolution accused Mayorkas of violating federal law and the Constitution by failing to “maintain operational control of the border” and prevent an “invasion.” 

Some Republicans voiced doubt about impeachment at the time, saying Mayorkas’ actions did not amount to impeachable offenses. Others said they wanted to wait for the committee’s investigation to be completed before holding an impeachment vote. 

Green, the committee chairman, said last week that the panel recently concluded a nearly yearlong investigation into the situation at the border. 

“Our investigation made clear that this crisis finds its foundation in Secretary Mayorkas’ decision-making and refusal to enforce the laws passed by Congress, and that his failure to fulfill his oath of office demands accountability,” he said in a statement announcing the hearing. 

Even if the GOP-controlled House impeaches Mayorkas, he is unlikely to be convicted in a trial in the Senate, which has a Democratic majority. Still, his impeachment would be historic given that he’d be the first Cabinet official to be impeached in almost 150 years. 

During a visit to the border on Monday, Mayorkas called on Congress to take action to fix the nation’s immigration system and said accusations that he has not enforced the nation’s laws “could not be further from the truth.” 

“There is nothing I take more seriously than our responsibility to uphold the law,” Mayorkas said, later adding that “the majority of all migrants encountered at the Southwest border throughout this administration have been removed, returned or expelled — a majority of them.” 

Mayorkas has been part of talks between the White House and a small bipartisan group of senators who have been negotiating a potential deal on immigration policy and border security. 

“After decades of Congressional inaction on our broken immigration laws, Secretary Mayorkas and a bipartisan group of Senators are working hard to try and find real solutions to address these challenges,” a DHS memo released Wednesday on the impeachment effort said. “Instead of working in a bipartisan way to fix our broken immigration laws, the House Majority is wasting time on baseless and pointless political attacks by trying to impeach Secretary Mayorkas.” 

Nikole Killion and Nicole Sganga contributed reporting. 

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Caitlin Yilek www.cbsnews.com

SOURCE
2024-01-10 15:12:00 , Home – CBSNews.com

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