A Republican-led effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas may falter—despite the party’s narrow control of the House of Representatives.
Republicans, who have been critical of Mayorkas’ handling of border security, have called for his impeachment as a way to remove him from office. But impeachment proponents have not yet been able to drum up enough support in the House, according to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).
Gaetz, who has been a leading proponent of impeaching Mayorkas, told the Washington Times on Monday that “we don’t have the votes.”
“I don’t think we’re close to having the votes,” Gaetz added when asked if impeachment proponents might still be able to drum up enough support in the House.
Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) introduced articles of impeachment against Mayorkas in January, and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) brought additional impeachment articles in February.
Both sets of impeachment articles accused Mayorkas of failing in his duties to maintain operational control of the U.S. border amid record-high months of illegal border crossings. Fallon’s impeachment articles specifically said Mayorkas implemented catch-and-release directives and, through his leadership, “recklessly released” more than 1,000,000 illegal immigrants into the United States.
To date, Fallon’s impeachment articles have garnered 41 co-sponsors, while Biggs’s impeachment articles have 32 co-sponsors.
An impeachment effort would need the near-total support of House Republicans, who hold a narrow majority. The impeachment effort would face even more difficult odds in the Senate. While it takes a simple majority to approve articles of impeachment in the House, it takes a two-thirds Senate majority to convict an impeached officer. All 49 Senate Republicans and at least 18 Democrats or independents would have to join the effort in order to officially remove Mayorkas from office.
House Republicans Try to Build Impeachment Case
While Gaetz signaled the lack of support for impeaching Mayorkas, he and other Republicans have been trying to move the impeachment cause forward.
Fallon’s impeachment articles claim Mayorkas willfully provided perjurious, false, and misleading testimony to Congress about having operational control of the border.
Last week, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on border security at Yuma City Hall in Arizona, which the Democrats on the committee boycotted. During that field hearing, Gaetz specifically asked witness Jonathan Lines, a Yuma County Supervisor, whether Mayorkas had ever lied to him.
“Yes,” Lines replied.
“And what was the substance of that lie?” Gaetz asked.
Lines replied that during a tour of the Yuma border sector about a year prior, Mayorkas had committed to help deal with gaps in the border. “He committed to, after reviewing the border both from the ground and the air, to specifically address quote-unquote ‘nine of the 11 Yuma gaps.'”
“And how many of those gaps have been addressed?” Gaetz asked.
“To date, so far? None,” Lines replied.
Gaetz followed up his questioning of Lines by voicing his support for Biggs’s impeachment articles.
Later on in the hearing, Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.) also shared his support for impeaching Mayorkas, “Because I really believe we have a case where somebody, Mayorkas, has committed treason, has broken the rule of law, and deserves not to be there anymore.”
NTD Television reached out to Gaetz’s office for further comment but did not receive a response before this article was published.
Mayorkas’ Impeachment Response
The Department of Homeland Security has hired outside legal counsel to help respond to the still-developing Republican impeachment effort.
A DHS spokesperson told The Epoch Times that the outside counsel will “help ensure the Department’s vital mission is not interrupted by the unprecedented, unjustified, and partisan impeachment efforts by some Members of Congress.”
“DHS will continue prioritizing its work to protect our country from terrorism, respond to natural disasters, and secure our borders while responding appropriately to the over 70 Congressional committees and subcommittees that have oversight of DHS,” the department spokesperson added.
Democrat lawmakers have consistently defended Mayorkas and the Biden administration’s efforts on border security and immigration.
“This whole nonsense about the open border, that the Biden administration is open-border, it’s just not true,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, told NTD after the committee held its first hearing on border security earlier this month.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) agreed with Nadler, saying: “I think it’s pretty clear, from what my colleagues across the aisle have said, this is to make a political point, not to actually examine the facts.”
Lofgren said she could not understand what the grounds for impeaching Mayorkas could be.