Mayorkas impeachment: House GOP votes to oust DHS secretary

The U.S. House voted Tuesday to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, with the Republican majority determined to punish the Biden administration over its handling of the U.S-Mexico border after failing last week in a politically embarrassing setback. 

The evening roll call proved tight, with Speaker Mike Johnson’s threadbare GOP majority unable to handle many defectors or absences in the face of staunch Democratic opposition to impeaching Mayorkas, the first Cabinet secretary facing charges in nearly 150 years. 

In a historic rebuke, the House impeached Mayorkas 214-213. With the return of Majority Leader Steve Scalise to bolster the GOP's numbers after being away from Washington for cancer care and a Northeastern storm impacting some others, Republicans recouped — despite dissent from their own ranks.


FILE - U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before a House Appropriations Subcommittee on April 27, 2022 in Washington, DC.

President Joe Biden said in a statement released after the vote, "History will not look kindly on House Republicans for their blatant act of unconstitutional partisanship that has targeted an honorable public servant in order to play petty political games."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the case against Mayorkas a "sham impeachment" and a "new low for House Republicans."

Why are Republicans trying to impeach Mayorkas? 

The GOP effort to impeach Mayorkas over his handling of the southern border has taken on an air of political desperation as Republicans struggle to make good on their priorities.

After a months-long investigation, the House Homeland Security Committee filed two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas — arguing that he "willfully and systematically" refused to enforce existing immigration laws and that he breached the public trust by lying to Congress and saying the border was secure. 

Border security has shot to the top of the latest campaign issues, with Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner for the presidential nomination, insisting he will launch "the largest domestic deportation operation in American history" on day one if he retakes the White House. 

RELATED: Mexico's increase in immigration enforcement results in drop in illegal border crossings into US

What happens if Mayorkas is impeached?

Even if Republicans are able to impeach Mayorkas, he's not expected to be convicted in a Senate trial.  According to the AP, the Senate may refer the matter to a committee for its own investigation, delaying immediate action. 

House impeachment hearings against Mayorkas moved forward in January while Republicans' separate impeachment inquiry into Biden involving the business dealings over his son Hunter Biden dragged on. 

RELATED: House GOP launches effort to impeach Mayorkas as Senate tries to strike border deal 

Democrats argue that Mayorkas is acting under his legal authority at the Department of Homeland Security and that the criticisms against him shouldn’t result in an impeachment. 

In 2023, eight House Republicans voted to shelve the impeachment resolution proposed by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., though many have since revealed being open to it, and a committee approved a revised version. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.