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US House Republicans fail to impeach homeland security secretary over border security

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-02-07 14:18

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas takes his seat to testify before a Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on the department's budget request on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, May 26, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - In a major blow to the Republicans, US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday survived an impeachment vote over the border security issue in the House of Representatives.

The lower chamber voted 214 to 216, with four Republicans defecting from their party and joining Democrats to vote against the impeachment of Biden administration's top border official.

In a letter to his colleagues, Rep. Tom McClintock of California argued that the GOP articles against Mayorkas stretched how the founders would define an impeachable offense, warning that Republicans would be setting a precedent that Democrats might use against them in the future.

Calling the impeachment an effort of "bad politics and bad policy," McClintock stressed that House Republicans were attempting to overstep boundaries by advocating for Mayorkas' removal from office for implementing President Joe Biden's border policies.

The articles of impeachment against Mayorkas accuse him of refusal to comply with law and a breach of public trust.

If successful, this would be the first case of a cabinet official impeached in nearly 150 years.

The failure to impeach Mayorkas represents a significant political setback for House Republicans and House Speaker Mike Johnson, who previously alleged that Biden and Mayorkas had "willfully ignored and actively undermined our nation's immigration laws."

Republican legislators claim that Mayorkas has not fulfilled his duties as secretary of homeland security. However, both the Department of Homeland Security and congressional Democrats have dismissed the endeavors to impeach Mayorkas as politically driven maneuvers.

US Congressman Bennie Thompson, the leading Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, criticized the impeachment attempt as "inept and unsuitable."

The impeachment vote came as Biden faces increasing pressure to address the surge in migrants at the nation's southern border, with demands coming not only from the typical Republican critics but also from Democratic mayors and governors across the country.

Biden's "biggest problem" is the surge of refugees at the southern border, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West told Xinhua. "Biden has to take that seriously and find a way to safeguard the borders," he said.

In a recent White House statement, Biden acknowledged that it's long past time to fix the border, saying that two months ago, he instructed his team to begin negotiations with a bipartisan group of senators to seriously, and finally, address the border crisis.

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