Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas testifies during a hearing on Capitol Hill on Nov. 15, 2023, in Washington. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Sunday he is unfazed by continued attempts by House Republicans to impeach him.
Speaking to host Kristen Welker on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Mayorkas said, “They’re baseless allegations, Kristen, and that’s why I’m really not distracted by them. I’m focused on the work of the Department of Homeland Security.”
The impeachment articles drawn up by House Republicans allege that Mayorkas “has willfully and systematically refused to comply with Federal immigration laws,” a notion that Mayorkas vehemently denies.
House Republicans are expected to vote on them again Tuesday after their initial efforts failed last Tuesday.
Speaking at the end of a week where a bipartisan Senate deal designed
to reform the immigration system fell apart, Mayorkas said it remains up to Congress to fix things.
“We don’t bear responsibility for a broken system,” he told Welker. “And we’re doing a tremendous amount within that broken system. But fundamentally, fundamentally, Congress is the only one who can fix it.”
Under the leadership of Speaker Mike Johnson, House Republicans suffered a stunning defeat last week when
a vote to impeach Mayorkas failed.
The count was initially tied at 215, with Reps. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) voting with Democrats against impeaching Mayorkas. At the last minute, Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah) flipped his vote to “no,” to allow Republicans to revive the impeachment articles at their discretion.
Republicans are counting on Majority Leader Steve Scalise to return and provide the 216th vote in favor of impeachment; the Louisiana Republican has been undergoing treatment for cancer. But they can’t wait too long in case former Rep. Tom Suozzi wins a special election in New York on Tuesday, which would provide Democrats with another vote.
For his part, Mayorkas said he wasn’t waiting around to see how the vote came out.
“I’m inspired every single day by the remarkable work that 216,000 men and women in our department perform on behalf of the American public,” he said. “I’ve got a busy day today. After the show, a busy day of work. I’ve got a busy day, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and so on.”
If House Republicans vote to impeach Mayorkas, the Senate would have to decide whether to remove Mayorkas from office, though there seems to be no realistic possibility that would happen.
The only Cabinet member ever to be impeached was Secretary of War William W. Belknap, who submitted his resignation to President Ulysses S. Grant in 1876 before a Senate trial. Belknap’s crimes were based on greed; he was accused of “basely prostituting his high office to his lust for private gain.”