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Chairman Green on Homeland Security Committee Approving Mayorkas Impeachment Articles: “Congress Must Finally Hold This Man Accountable”

January 31, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green, MD (R-TN) released the following statement after the Committee voted to advance the articles of impeachment against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas out of committee. This vote followed hours of stall tactics and efforts by the Committee minority to derail the proceedings. According to one prominent journalist, the minority did “everything” they could “to derail and distract from marking up the impeachment articles:”

“The facts are indisputable—for three years, Secretary Mayorkas has willfully and systemically refused to comply with the laws enacted by Congress, and he has breached the public trust. His actions created this unprecedented crisis, turning every state into a border state.

“As a result, thousands of Americans have lost their lives and our nation is experiencing a historic national security, public safety, and humanitarian catastrophe. Make no mistake, Secretary Mayorkas’ lawlessness is exactly what the Framers of our Constitution designed impeachment to remedy. The historical record makes it clear—Congress holds impeachment power to hold accountable public officials who refuse to do their duty, and to deal with grave harms to our political order. 

“I am proud of the Committee for advancing these historic articles. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do the right thing, put aside the politics, and agree that before we can fix Secretary Mayorkas’ mess, Congress must finally hold this man accountable.”

Read the articles here.

At around 1am today, roughly 15 hours after commencement, the Committee adjourned following lengthy debate on the historic articles of impeachment against DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Significant use of parliamentary tactics at the start of the hearing consumed substantial time. As the proceedings advanced, it became clear that Committee Democrats were offering amendments unrelated to the articles or outside the Committee’s jurisdiction in an effort to further obstruct the impeachment proceedings and delay accountability. Democrats have no grounds to complain about the process after spending months, and even arguing during the markup, that the Committee was spending too much time focusing on the border crisis and Secretary Mayorkas. 

The historical and constitutional record clearly establish that Secretary Mayorkas’ misconduct rises to the level of impeachable offenses. James Madison, “the Father of the Constitution,” said on the House floor in 1789, “if an unworthy man be continued in office by an unworthy President, the House of Representatives can at any time impeach him, and the Senate can remove him, whether the President chooses or not.” In 1833, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story described several examples of English impeachments in his “Commentaries on the Constitution” when writing about the proper application of the Constitution’s Impeachment Clause, noting that some officials were impeached for “attempts to subvert fundamental laws, and introduce arbitrary power.” In Federalist No. 65, Alexander Hamilton writes of impeachment, “The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust . . . [T]hey relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

Even the witnesses called by Committee Democrats during these proceedings espoused support during the 2019 Trump impeachment for standards that would apply to Secretary Mayorkas. For example, Deborah Pearlstein, a law professor who testified at the Committee’s second impeachment hearing, said in December 2019, “The existing criminal laws didn’t exist when the Framers wrote the Constitution and indeed crimes as such weren’t what the Framers had in mind when they put impeachment into the Constitution. What they were thinking about with the impeachment remedy were serious offenses against the public trust, that is certain things that only the President and other senior officials could do that abused their authority.”

BACKGROUND: The House Committee on Homeland Security approved these articles following a nearly year-long investigation into the causes, costs, and consequences of the unprecedented crisis at America’s borders. Throughout the process, Secretary Mayorkas refused to cooperatewith requests to appear before the Committee to provide testimony in defense of his refusal to comply with U.S. immigration laws and his breach of the public trust.

Throughout the five-phase investigation that culminated in these impeachment proceedings, the Committee published detailed reports of its findings, totaling nearly 400 pages, which are linked below:

These reports conclusively establish that Secretary Mayorkas is chiefly responsible for the chaos and devastation that has unfolded at America’s borders over the past three years. His willful and systemic refusal to comply with the laws passed by Congress has incentivized unprecedented mass illegal immigration. He has breached the public trust by misleading Congress and the American people on numerous occasions about the consequences of his decisions and the operational realities on the border. As a result, the criminal cartels have been empowered, Americans and migrants alike are suffering in record numbers, and cities and states across the country are assuming massive financial costs. 

As part of the investigative process, the Committee has conducted 10 full and subcommittee hearings, gathering testimony from more than two dozen witnesses. The Committee, along with the House Oversight Committee, also conducted transcribed interviews of chief and deputy chief patrol agents responsible for the Border Patrol’s nine Southwest border sectors as part of this investigation. These senior agents gave compelling testimony about the many consequences of Secretary Mayorkas’ open borders: