Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas learned of the formal commencement of his impeachment proceedings on live television. The announcement was made during a broadcast interview with MSNBC on Wednesday, catching the Secretary off guard.
The House Homeland Security Committee had confirmed that it is moving ahead with the impeachment process against Mayorkas, with the initial hearing scheduled for January 10. There is also a possibility of a second hearing in the following week.
The move comes amidst increasing criticism of Secretary Mayorkas’s handling of various homeland security issues, particularly the immigration system under the Biden administration. The conservative majority in the House has expressed their dissatisfaction with the Secretary’s approach to border security and immigration policies, leading to the drastic step.
In response to the news, Secretary Mayorkas reinforced his commitment to cooperating with the investigation. During the interview, he stated, “Before I headed to the Hill I was in the office working on solutions. After my visit to the Hill, I was back in my office working on solutions. That’s what we do in the Department of Homeland Security.”
Despite the looming impeachment proceedings, Mayorkas affirmed his intention to continue focusing on his duties as Secretary. “I most certainly will [cooperate] and I’m going to continue to do my work as well.”
Lawmakers have been vocal about their concerns regarding the Secretary’s policies, viewing them as a key factor in the challenges facing the nation’s border security and immigration system. The impeachment process marks a significant escalation in the ongoing political battle over immigration and homeland security policies under the Biden administration.
Homeland Security Committee Chair Mark Green, a Republican from Tennessee, announced that the panel’s investigation (which concluded in December) has supplied House Republicans with sufficient evidence to impeach Secretary Mayorkas. Green alleged that Mayorkas misused taxpayer funds and deliberately neglected border security protocols.
“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,” Green told Punchbowl News.
“The bipartisan House vote in November to refer articles of impeachment to my Committee only served to highlight the importance of our taking up the impeachment process – which is what we will begin doing next Wednesday.”
Punchbowl News reported:
This is a major escalation in Green’s nearly year-long probe into Mayorkas, which was split into five phases. The investigation looked at the origins, effects and economic costs of the influx of millions of undocumented migrants who have illegally crossed the U.S. border since Mayorkas has held his post.
It also comes as House Republicans launched a formal impeachment inquiry last month into President Joe Biden. That probe could wrap up as early as February.
On top of that, House Republicans will be grappling with two looming government shutdown deadlines when they return to Capitol Hill next week.
While there have been multiple presidential and judicial impeachment proceedings held by Congress in recent decades, this would mark the first impeachment of a Cabinet official since Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876.