GOP-led House impeaches Mayorkas on second attempt, delivering historic punishment

Mayorkas faces two articles of impeachment over his handling of border security and illegal immigration

The GOP-led House voted 214-213 on Tuesday night to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, marking the first time a sitting Cabinet secretary has received such a punishment.

The vote pushes two articles of impeachment to the Senate for a potential trial later this year. 

The two articles alleged that Mayorkas' handling of the southern U.S. border crisis involved both a "breach of trust" and a "willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law."

The Biden administration has released about 2.3 million illegal immigrants encountered at the border since 2021, according to a report from January 2024.  

Last week, the first vote on the resolution took place after nearly 3 hours of debate on the House floor but it failed to pass 216-214. 

Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, had changed his vote from yes to no so the resolution would be able to be reconsidered. 

“For nearly a year, the House Homeland Security Committee has taken a careful and methodical approach to this investigation and the results are clear: from his first day in office, Secretary Mayorkas has willfully and consistently refused to comply with federal immigration laws, fueling the worst border catastrophe in American history," House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said in a statement.

"He has undermined public trust through multiple false statements to Congress, obstructed lawful oversight of the Department of Homeland Security, and violated his oath of office. Alejandro Mayorkas deserves to be impeached, and Congress has a constitutional obligation to do so. Next to a declaration of war, impeachment is arguably the most serious authority given to the House and we have treated this matter accordingly. Since this Secretary refuses to do the job that the Senate confirmed him to do, the House must act," he added.

A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security reacted to the vote on Tuesday evening.

"House Republicans will be remembered by history for trampling on the Constitution for political gain rather than working to solve the serious challenges at our border. While Secretary Mayorkas was helping a group of Republican and Democratic Senators develop bipartisan solutions to strengthen border security and get needed resources for enforcement, House Republicans have wasted months with this baseless, unconstitutional impeachment," said Mia Ehrenberg, a department spokesperson, in a statement.

"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 ears enforcing our laws and serving our country," she added.

House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., said after the vote that the House took "decisive action to defend our constitutional order and hold accountable a public official who has violated his oath of office."

The last time Congress faced such a momentous vote was 1876, when the House prepared to impeach then-Secretary of War William Belknap.

Belknap rushed to the White House and submitted his resignation to then-President Ulysses Grant.