DHS Head Avoids Ouster Thanks to GOP Votes

Eight House Republicans joined Democrats on Tuesday to block a resolution calling for the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The final tally was 221-209, handing Mayorkas a victory as most House Republicans continue pushing for his ouster over his handling of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The resolution was introduced by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. It accused Mayorkas of having “failed to faithfully uphold his oath” and said he “is unfit to hold office.”

But with some Republicans hesitant to initiate impeachment proceedings, the resolution fell short. The eight defectors were Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Chris Jacobs (R-NY), John Katko (R-NY), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), María Salazar (R-FL) and Fred Upton (R-MI).

“It is clear the American people have lost confidence in Secretary Mayorkas,” Biggs said in a statement after the vote. “Someone else needs to take the helm at DHS and address the crisis at our southern border.”

The vote comes as Republicans gear up for potential impeachment proceedings when they take control of the House in January. “The American people fired Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats on Election Day,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said last week. “We’re going to fight like crazy for those hardworking families in respecting that decision.”

But even some within the party are skeptical of opening impeachment probes. “We should focus on promoting solutions rather than putting on partisan spectacles,” Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) said.

Mayorkas has served as DHS secretary since February 2021 and has faced consistent criticism from Republicans over his handling of border security, as migrant apprehensions have reached record highs. The Biden administration insists Mayorkas is working diligently to fix a broken system.

“Secretary Mayorkas is proud to advance the noble mission of this department, support its extraordinary workforce, and serve the American people,” a DHS spokesperson said recently. “The Department will continue our work to enforce our laws and secure our border while building a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system.”

Despite Mayorkas surviving Tuesday’s vote, calls for change at DHS from Republicans will likely only intensify when they officially take control on January 3rd. But with a slim majority and some dissent already emerging, it remains to be seen if efforts to remove Mayorkas will advance in the months ahead.