House Republicans failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday and have been forced to shelve a high-profile priority — for now — after a few GOP lawmakers refused to go along with the party’s plan.
The stunning roll call fell just a few votes short of impeaching Mayorkas, stalling the Republicans’ drive to punish the Biden administration over its handling of the U.S-Mexico border. With Democrats united against the charges, the Republicans needed almost every vote from their slim majority to approve the articles of impeachment.
The House is likely to revisit plans to impeach Mayorkas, but next steps are highly uncertain.
Last week, House Republicans voted on Jan. 31 to move toward impeaching Mayorkas for refusing to enforce immigration laws with border security, a big issue in the 2024 election.
FILE-Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas attends a press conference at a temporary Customs and Border Protection processing center on May 7, 2021 in Donna, Texas. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)
The two Impeachment articles charge that Mayorkas "refused to comply with Federal immigration laws" amid a record surge of migrants and that he has "breached the public trust" in his claims to Congress that the U.S.-Mexico border is secure.
If the GOP has enough votes, the impeachment charges would go to the Senate for a trial, though senators would have to gather a special committee for consideration.
This move to attempt to impeach Mayorkas would make him the first Cabinet secretary to be impeached in 148 years, the Associated Press noted.
What happens if Mayorkas is impeached?
Even if Republicans are able to impeach Mayorkas, he's not expected to be convicted in a Senate trial. According to the AP, the Senate may refer the matter to a committee for its own investigation, delaying immediate action.
House impeachment hearings against Mayorkas moved forward in January while Republicans' separate impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden involving the business dealings over his son Hunter Biden dragged on.
Democrats argue that Mayorkas is acting under his legal authority at the Department of Homeland Security and that the criticisms against him shouldn’t result in an impeachment.
In 2023, eight House Republicans voted to shelve the impeachment resolution proposed by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., though many have since revealed being open to it, and a committee approved a revised version.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Washington, D.C.