Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Thursday filed a motion calling for the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over the Biden administration’s handling of the U.S. southern border.
Greene’s move draws attention to an issue some Republicans had hoped to put on the back burner as the party reassesses its use of its impeachment authority. Ever since taking back control of the House in January, Republicans have threatened several members of the Biden administration — including President Biden himself — with impeachment over allegations put forth without providing a solid body of evidence.
The resolution is privileged, which means the House has to move on it within 48 business hours. Greene said she expects a vote next week.
Impeaching a Cabinet secretary is rare, and the effort is likely to draw backlash from Republican moderates who have voiced concerns that House Republicans’ willingness to dangle the threat of an impeachment process against Democratic figures could negatively affect the party’s chances in next year’s elections. The motion also comes as Congress faces a Nov. 17 deadline to pass appropriations bills to fund the federal government or risk a shutdown.
A number of far-right members of the party, however, campaigned on impeaching Mayorkas, who has long been the target of Republicans critical of the Biden administration’s border and immigration policies. Last November, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called on Mayorkas to resign or face investigations that could lead to his impeachment by a GOP House majority that was set to take over a few weeks later.
Mayorkas did not resign and, over the past year, key House committees — Oversight, Homeland Security and Judiciary — have held hearings on the situation at the border. Mayorkas and DHS have repeatedly pushed back against Republicans’ claims that he has broken the law while in office.
In a statement Thursday, DHS spokeswoman Mia Ehrenberg said that “while the House Majority has wasted months trying to score points with baseless attacks, Secretary Mayorkas has been doing his job and working to keep Americans safe.”
“Instead of continuing their reckless impeachment charades and attacks on law enforcement, Congress should work with us to keep our country safe, build on the progress DHS is making, and deliver desperately needed reforms for our broken immigration system that only legislation can fix,” she said.
Greene’s resolution filed Thursday specifically focuses on 2006′s Secure Fence Act, a law passed during the Bush administration that authorized the construction of 700 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border and also declared that the border would only be operationally secure if absolutely no contraband or people enter the country unlawfully.
Greene’s resolution hinges on her accusation that Mayorkas violated this law. However, under that law’s definition, all homeland security secretaries have violated the Secure Fence Act, given that, since its passage, no administration has fully stopped the unlawful flow of contraband or people through the border.
This is a point Mayorkas has made before Congress repeatedly. In March, Mayorkas told the Senate Judiciary Committee that, when he speaks about having operational control of the border, he does not use the definition that appears in the Secure Fence Act because, under those guidelines, “no administration has ever had operational control.”
“The way I define it is maximizing the resources that we have to deliver the most effective results, and we are indeed doing that,” he said.
Greene, without providing evidence, said Thursday on the House floor that Mayorkas, “rather than adhering to an oath he took to defend and secure our country and uphold the Constitution,” has “engaged in a pattern of conduct that is incompatible with the laws of the United States.” She accused Mayorkas of allowing the “willful admittance of border crossers” and said he was “complicit” in ending Title 42 restrictions — the pandemic-era border restriction put in place by the Trump administration that denied most migrants the opportunity to make claims for protection. The Title 42 policy ended in May, alongside the federal government’s coronavirus public health emergency.
Mayorkas, Greene alleged in the resolution, failed to protect Americans from an “invasion.”
“Americans are getting killed, either through fentanyl poisoning, murdered by human smugglers,” she told reporters after leaving the House floor. “Our national security crisis is out of control.”
Greene said that, if the measure doesn’t pass, she’ll file another impeachment resolution against Mayorkas.
“I really can’t understand why it wouldn’t succeed at this point,” she said.
Republican investigations into Mayorkas, however, have failed to produce enough evidence to merit an official impeachment process. When asked whether she had spoken to Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) about her resolution, Greene said she tried to get him on the phone Thursday morning but couldn’t connect with him.
“I’m sure he’s very busy,” she said. “But I’m tired of waiting on everyone. I think most Americans are tired of waiting.”
Johnson’s office did not immediately respond Thursday to requests for comment on the impeachment resolution.
Greene has filed multiple impeachment resolutions against top Democrats during her time in the House. Since 2022, she has filed five resolutions seeking President Biden’s impeachment. None have moved out of committee. During this Congress, she filed a resolution to impeach Attorney General Merrick Garland and said she is also seeking the impeachment of U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew M. Graves and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray.