Alejandro Mayorkas
Alejandro Mayorkas AFP

House Republicans are gearing up to hold a second vote to impeach the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, after failing to do so last week.

Republicans believe they have the votes this time, following a 215-215 tie that included three holdouts from their own party. Majority Leader Steve Scalise could be a tiebreaker once he returns to Washington after getting treatment for cancer.

Mayorkas again criticized the initiative, saying they were "baseless allegations" on Sunday and defending his performance at the job.

"That [asylum] case backlog, which is about 3 million cases, has been growing year, over year, over year. The time between when we encounter an individual at the border and the time of final adjudication of an asylum case has been years, five to seven years, for years and years," he told NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday.

He acknowledged the country has a "broken system" and existing challenges at the border, but said his department is doing "everything we can within that broken system short of legislation to address what is not just a challenge for the United States but one throughout our region."

The legislation tidbit was a jab at Republicans who swiftly rejected a bipartisan border security bill last week following months of negotiations. Mayorkas said that a group of senators across parties "have now presented us with the tools and resources we need," but that "Congress killed it before even reading it."

Republicans, in turn, vowed to impeach Mayorkas claiming that the Homeland secretary disregarded federal laws and rolled back Trump-era border policies resulting in a worsening crisis at the southern border.

At the center of the efforts is the implementation of a series of family reunification parole programs, which allowed some foreign nationals to wait in the U.S. for immigration visas. The allegation says Mayorkas should have used those resources to detain people crossing the border illegally.

The second article argues that Mayorkas knowingly made false statements to Congress by saying that the border was secure and that he obstructed oversight.

If the vote had passed, it would have been the first time since 1876 when a Cabinet secretary was impeached and the first one aimed at a sitting member. Back then, Secretary of War William Belknap resigned just before the vote.

Even if the House impeaches Mayorkas after Scalise's return, the chances of the motion passing in the Senate are slim. ABC News reported that Republican senators have "been cool to the effort" and that they may "simply refer the matter to a committee for its own investigation, delaying immediate action."

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