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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas impeached by House Republicans

The House has voted along party lines to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The Senate is not expected to convict him or expel him from office.
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The House has voted along party lines to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The Senate is not expected to convict him or expel him from office.

Updated February 13, 2024 at 8:04 PM ET

The House of Representatives has voted 214-213 to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for "willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law" in enforcing border policy and "breach public trust." Three Republicans voted with all Democrats against the impeachment.

Mayorkas is the first cabinet member to be impeached since William Belknap, secretary of war under President Ulysses S. Grant, in 1876. It is highly unlikely that he will be convicted in the Senate or removed from office.

Mia Ehrenberg, a DHS spokesperson, said in a statement that the impeachment was done "without a shred of evidence or legitimate Constitutional grounds."

"House Republicans will be remembered by history for trampling on the Constitution for political gain rather than working to solve the serious challenges at our border," Ehrenberg said.

The House's successful impeachment vote comes a week after another failed vote on the measure. Three Republicans joined with a unanimous Democratic caucus to block the effort. This time — thanks to the return of Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the House majority leader, following a long absence to seek treatment for blood cancer — they were able to overcome the opposition to pass the impeachment measure.

The effort fulfills a key promise made by House Republican lawmakers to their base voters and underscores the conference's willingness to using their investigative and oversight powers to keep border security and immigration enforcement centerstage heading into the 2024 election season.

The matter now heads to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where lawmakers are widely expected to acquit or otherwise sidestep the charges and allow Mayorkas to remain in his role.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's office said House impeachment managers will present the articles of impeachment to the Senate following the state work period. Senators will be sworn in as jurors in the trial the next day. Senate President Pro Tempore Patty Murray will preside.

In a statement, Schumer called the vote "a new low for House Republicans."

"This sham impeachment effort is another embarrassment for House Republicans," he said. "The one and only reason for this impeachment is for Speaker Johnson to further appease Donald Trump."

Some Republicans in the upper chamber have expressed concerns that Mayorkas' actions do not rise to the "high crimes and misdemeanors" standard set by the Constitution for impeachments and the precedent set by the House Republicans' effort.

In a statement condemning the House vote, President Biden said: "History will not look kindly on House Republicans for their blatant act of unconstitutional partisanship that has targeted an honorable public servant in order to play petty political games."

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eric McDaniel
Eric McDaniel edits the NPR Politics Podcast. He joined the program ahead of its 2019 relaunch as a daily podcast.