Republicans can’t force a Mayorkas impeachment trial, but they’ll try to make it painful for Democrats

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was impeached in February
Published April 9,  2024

A group of Republicans plans to throw up procedural roadblocks and raise tough votes for vulnerable Democrats this week as the Senate considers the DHS secretary’s impeachment.

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats hope to quickly dismiss the House’s articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas this week and move on to other matters.

But Senate Republicans, demanding a full impeachment trial or the creation of a special impeachment committee, want to make the coming days as politically painful as possible for Mayorkas and his Democratic allies.

A band of conservatives, led by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, plans to throw up procedural roadblocks, try to delay the issue and put the spotlight on Democrats’ refusal to conduct a trial and hold Mayorkas accountable for what they view as his failure to secure the southern border.

“Senator Schumer is trying to ignore articles of impeachment from the House, tabling them without a vote for the first time in American history,” Lee, a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement to NBC News. “But the Constitution requires that we begin trial proceedings, and I will be fighting on the Senate floor to ensure that both Secretary Mayorkas and the entire Congress remain accountable for the current invasion of America’s southern border.”

As lawmakers return from a two-week spring recess, those conservatives say they will take to the Senate floor Monday evening and deliver a series of speeches calling for a full-fledged trial, like the two that Donald Trump faced in 2019 and 2021.

That will be followed by a news conference Tuesday afternoon where Republicans plan to hammer home their message. Lee, who serves on the GOP leadership team, is working with fellow Steering Committee members, including GOP Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Marco Rubio of Florida and Eric Schmitt of Missouri. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., the head of the GOP campaign arm, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, also are involved.

Democrats, who control the Senate, have called the House’s vote to impeach Mayorkas, President Joe Biden’s top border security official, a “sham,” arguing that Republicans failed to demonstrate that Mayorkas committed any impeachable offense and that Republicans are engaging in a politically motivated exercise ahead of the presidential election.



RELATED: DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas impeachment proceedings: What to expect

Senators and leadership aides say a trial on the Senate floor is not likely.

Published April 9,  2024

After voting in February to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, impeachment proceedings will head to the next stage on Wednesday, when the articles of impeachment are expected to be transmitted to the Senate.

One thing is clear: this is not going to look like the impeachments we’ve seen in the last few years since a full-scale trial on the Senate floor is not likely, according to senators and leadership aides — despite what many House Republicans want.

The House voted to impeach Mayorkas on Feb. 13 by a vote of 214-213 over what Republicans claimed was his failure to enforce border laws amid a “crisis” of high illegal immigration, allegations the secretary denied as “baseless.”

DHS has criticized the impeachment efforts.

“Without a shred of evidence or legitimate Constitutional grounds, and despite bipartisan opposition, House Republicans have falsely smeared a dedicated public servant who has spent more than 20 years enforcing our laws and serving our country,” DHS spokesperson Mia Ehrenberg said. “Secretary Mayorkas and the Department of Homeland Security will continue working every day to keep Americans safe.”

Even though there’s a slim chance of a Senate trial, exactly how the impeachment proceedings will play out is still a bit unclear: the Senate has the option to either dismiss the trial outright or to require a committee to hear it instead.

Here’s how things are expected to play out this week:

Wednesday’s ‘engrossment ceremony’

It’s not yet clear what time Wednesday’s impeachment proceedings will occur.

There is expected to be an “engrossment ceremony” in the Rayburn Room, during which Speaker Mike Johnson signs the articles. Typically, the speaker makes a short, on-camera speech after signing.



RELATED: Why Republicans impeached Biden’s top border official Mayorkas

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas arrives to participate in U.S. President Joe Biden’s meeting with U.S. governors attending the National Governors Association winter meeting, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 23, 2024. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
Published April 8,  2024
WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) – The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives this week is due to deliver its impeachment case against President Joe Biden’s top border official, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, to the Democratic-majority Senate.
That chamber’s majority Democrats are seen as all but certain to bring the proceedings to a swift end, arguing that Republicans have fallen short of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” standard that impeachment calls for.


Republicans accuse Biden and Mayorkas of failing to sufficiently deter illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border, which has reached record levels since the Democratic president took office in 2021.
Republicans argue that Mayorkas refused to fully enforce U.S. immigration laws and should not have reversed restrictive policies put in place by Republican former President Donald Trump, Biden’s leading rival in the Nov. 5 election.
Republicans also contend Mayorkas exceeded his authority by allowing hundreds of thousands of migrants to enter legally through emergency “parole” programs.
The U.S. Border Patrol made more than 1 million arrests of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally in the past six months, according to internal agency statistics reviewed by Reuters, a pace similar to record-breaking totals during Biden’s first three years in office.
During Trump’s 2017-2021 presidency, migrant arrests peaked at 852,000 in fiscal year 2019.
Reuters/Ipsos polling shows that immigration is the top concern for Republicans and the party has used the issue to motivate their base.


The Biden administration says it has created a more orderly and humane immigration system and that record levels of migration are challenging countries throughout the Western Hemisphere.
In recent months, Biden has toughened his border rhetoric and tried to shift blame to Republicans for high levels of illegal crossings.
Specifically, the president has faulted Republicans for declining to provide more funding for border enforcement and for rejecting a bipartisan border deal in the Senate that would have given Biden a sweeping authority to send migrants caught at the southwest border back to Mexico. Trump voiced loud objections to the bill, dooming its chances in the House.
Mayorkas – a former federal prosecutor – defended his immigration enforcement record and commitment to government service in a January letter to House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green.
Representative Bennie Thompson, the top Democrat on the homeland committee, has dismissed the impeachment proceedings as a politically motivated “sham.”




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