Immigration remained a priority across Capitol Hill on Tuesday. In the House, a key vote toward impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Mayorkas is facing charges of refusing to uphold the law and breaching the public trust in his handling of the U.S. southern border. Republicans are continuing to push forward in spite of significant Democrat opposition.
“If refusal to obey the law leads to death of your fellow Americans, you no longer deserve to keep your job, you’re breaking the public trust,” said Homeland Security Committee Chairman, Rep. Mark Green (R-TN).
The last cabinet member impeached came in 1876 under President Ulysses S. Grant. Corruption charges led to that outcome and Democrats maintain, that this attempt is over a policy dispute.
“In a process akin to throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks, Republicans have cooked up vague unprecedented grounds to impeach Secretary Mayorkas,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MISS)
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In a new letter to the committee, Mayorkas writes that the “false accusations do not rattle,” or “divert,” him.
Democrats call the impeachment effort a “sham,” accusing House Republicans of following the wishes of former President Donald Trump.
“Extreme MAGA Republicans running the House of Representatives are deeply unserious people. They don’t want progress, they don’t want solutions, they want political issues and most of all they want to please a disgraced former president,” Thompson said.
Trump wants Republicans to oppose an expected bipartisan immigration bill in the Senate, saying it would be a gift to Democrats and a legislative victory for President Biden. A Senate vote on the measure could come as early as next week.
GOP negotiators expressed frustration over claims it will be dead on arrival in the House.
“We want a change in law. And now, it’s interesting. A few months later when we’re finally getting to the end, they’re like, ‘Oh, just kidding, I actually don’t want a change in law because of the presidential election year,'” said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) in a Fox News Sunday interview.
Meanwhile, another House committee on Tuesday considered the authority of states to unilaterally take action to secure the southern border if the federal government fails to do so.
“As Thomas Jefferson put it, ‘Self-preservation is paramount to all law.’ The fact of the matter is, of course, the people of Texas have the right to defend themselves, just as I have the right to defend my home and my family if it is under attack,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX).
“Federal law governing immigration is the supreme law of the land. We cannot have 50 different sets of immigration laws. Attempts by the states to enact and implement their own immigration enforcement policies, that conflict with federal law, are clearly unconstitutional,” argued Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA).
Democrats say if Republicans are serious about improving the situation at the border, they should pass legislation providing the funding to do so.
When it comes to the articles of impeachment against Mayorkas, a full house vote could come as early as next week.