DHS Secretary
Alejandro Mayorkas AFP

House Republicans are set to move ahead with a vote aimed at impeaching Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday, even though it is not clear whether they have the votes given their slim majority in the chamber and the opposition from at least one party lawmaker.

Mayorkas has been accused of "refusing to comply" with immigration laws, something that, House Republicans, argue has led to the soaring of border crossings. Mayorkas denies all allegations.

The majority of Republicans' attention will be set on some holdouts from their own party, considering they can only afford to lose two votes and Rep. Ken Buck has already said he will vote against the effort.

Buck said that, based on consultations on "constitutional experts" and "former members," he won't support the initiative. "(They) agree that this just isn't an impeachable offense."

Buck added that, in his view, Mayorkas' handling of the surge in immigration in the southern border is "terrible," but that doesn't make him guilty of the high crimes and misdemeanors included in the articles of impeachment.

At least three other Republicans have shown uncertainty regarding their vote. One is Representative Tom McClintock, who also criticized Mayorkas but argued his actions don't meet the criteria for impeachment.

Another one is Dave Joyce, who, according to NBC News, is reviewing materials from the Homeland Security Committee. And, finally, Dan Newhouse previously told reporters that he was waiting to see the conclusions from the Homeland Security Committee.

And even if the vote does pass the House, it's chances of being approved by the Senate seem slimmer. 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."

The U.S. Capitol Harold Mendoza/Unsplash.

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 first article against the Secretary claims he displayed a "willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law," and the second that he breached public trust by having "knowingly made false statements, and knowingly obstructed lawful oversight of the Department of Homeland Security."

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 indeed passes, it would be the first time since 1876 when a Cabinet secretary faces impeachment and the first one aimed at a sitting member. Back then, Secretary of War William Belknap resigned just before the vote.

Mayorkas has said that he he should be working with the Biden administration to overhaul the country's "broken and outdated" immigration laws to adapt to an era of record migration. "We need a legislative solution and only Congress can provide it," Mayorkas wrote in a letter responding to the accusation.

Immigration has become a central political issue in 2024 as the presidential elections get closer. While the House deals with the impeachment vote, the Senate is immersed in its own conundrum after Republicans threaten to vote against a border security bill that was negotiated by members of both parties for months.

At the US-Mexico Border
Members of the Texas Army National Guard extend razor wire to inhibit migrants from crossing, as seen from Ciudad Juárez. Reuters

According to NBC News, GOP senators left a closed-door meeting anticipating they wouldn't provide enough votes for the bill to pass on Wednesday, saying "they need more time to discuss changes to the bill in the form of amendments."

And even if the bill does pass the Senate, its chances in the House are slimmer, as several high-ranking members and allies of former President Donald Trump slammed its language.

"I've seen enough. This bill is even worse than we expected," said Speaker Mike Johnson in a statement. "If this bill reaches the House, it will be dead on arrival," he added, repeating a phrase he had already used even before the language of the bill was released.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and House GOP conference chair Elise Stefanik made similar comments, with the former saying that the bill "will NOT receive a vote in the House" and the latter that it is an "absolute non-starter." Democrats and some Republicans have accused a faction of the latter to tank a deal they had requested in the first place to continue having a political talking point during the electoral campaign.

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