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BREAKING: Republican-Led House Votes to Impeach Mayorkas

House Votes in Favor of Unprecedented Cabinet Member Impeachment

Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies during a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee on President Biden's supplemental funding request, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has been marked down in history, following his impeachment through a nail-biting vote by the House of Representatives. This is the first time a cabinet member has been subjected to the impeachment process in more than a century. Several members of the Republican party blame Secretary Mayorkas for an unmatched wave of immigrants at the US-Mexico border.

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The push for impeachment was led by Republicans in the House, culminating in a tense vote tally of 214 in favor versus 213 against. This successful vote follows an earlier attempt to impeach the Secretary that fell flat. With the House’s decision, the process will now proceed to the Senate for an impeachment trial.

The opposing sides of the vote were predominantly divided along party lines – of the total, 210 Democrats voiced their opposition to the impeachment action. The Democrat tally was supplemented by dissent from three of their Republican colleagues: Tom McClintock hailing from California, Ken Buck of Colorado and Wisconsin’s Mike Gallagher.

This trio of Republican ‘defectors’ also rejected the preceding attempt to impeach Secretary Mayorkas. Yet, the need for tighter border control remains a polarizing topic for the populace. Since the commencement of 2021, unauthorized entry into the US by more than 6.3 million migrants has fueled politically charged debates, especially as the November election looms.

Critics of the current administration, under President Joe Biden, have taken issue with Secretary Mayorkas, claiming he falls short of his sworn commitment to ‘well and faithfully discharge the duties’ of his office, particularly where border security is concerned. These claims are vehemently rebuffed by Democrats and by members of the Biden-led administration.

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Throughout a pair of hearings in January, Republicans, obstinate in their stand, held Secretary Mayorkas responsible for his perceived negligence in implementing existing immigration policies, and for his alleged misrepresentation of the security conditions at the border. Worth noting, however, is that the Secretary did not present any testimony at these hearings.

Earlier, an initial try at impeaching the Secretary was narrowly unsuccessful, falling short by the count of three votes. These votes belonged to Republicans Ken Buck, Mike Gallagher, and Tom McClintock, each of whom opted against the impeachment.

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A unique occasion arose when Democratic Representative Al Green of Texas made his surprise appearance at the chamber, clothed in hospital attire, so as to cast his vote against the impeachment. Earlier, he had been rushed into an emergency room for surgical procedures. Nevertheless, his commitment to his assembly responsibilities became palpable.

The scenario this Tuesday, however, revealed a different setting from the House Majority Leader, Steve Scalise’s point of view. After an absence due to ongoing cancer treatment during the last vote, Scalise rejoined the plenary session, thereby providing the Republicans with the impetus they needed for a successful impeachment vote.

Outlined within the pages of the US Constitution is the impeachment process – marking the initial step towards the expulsion of a federal official due to high crimes or misdemeanors. The impeachment ride can be arduous, requiring a simple majority in the House comprising 435 members, and an even more challenging two-thirds majority in the Senate, which houses a 100-member assembly.

While this hurdle of securing a majority in favor has been surpassed in the House, the journey of impeachment is far from over. The middle ground of the Senate shall be a challenging terrain given its Democrat majority, which is expected to vote against the impeachment of Mayorkas.

The most recent case of a cabinet secretary facing impeachment was William Belknap, the then Secretary of War, in the year 1876. Though he resigned prior to the commencement of the vote, the echoes of that historic event resonate with the unfolding of current events.

Alongside this political tension, the American public’s concern continues to be amplified with respect to the immigration issue and, more specifically, the handling of border control by the administration. Research conducted by CBS in January – a US partner of the BBC – indicated that approximately half of the US citizens consider the situation at the border to be reaching crisis proportions.

Moreover, this research surfaced that the public sentiment favors stricter immigration–63% of those surveyed proposed that the current administration should incline towards ‘tougher’ policies.

In conclusion, the vote to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the ensuing allegations, and the consistent increase of migrants at the U.S. border, illustrate the high-stakes contentiousness of today’s political scene. Yet, it is democracy in action, that continues to validate the essence of America, even amidst its contentious discourses.

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