Thursday, February 29, 2024

Opinion: Mayorkas isn’t to blame for border mess. House Republicans should impeach themselves

If governing amid the chaos of migrants crossing the southern border is an impeachable offense (it’s not), then it’s the mostly Republican members of Congress who deserve to be condemned — not a Cabinet Secretary.

It is they, along with legislators who have passed away in recent decades, who are responsible for the dysfunction of our immigration system: Congress has never succeeded in providing immigration officials with enough funding and legal authority to stem, control and orderly process the growing number of requests. people yearning for opportunities in the United States. The border problem is not new, it’s just Worse than ever.

Opinion columnist

Jackie Calmes

Jackie Calmes brings a critical perspective to the national political scene. She has decades of experience covering the White House and Congress.

As Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro N. Mayorkas said Senate Republican critiques last year: “Our asylum system is broken, our entire immigration system is broken and in desperate need of reform. And it’s been like this for years and years.

But instead of taking some responsibility and solving the problem, House Republicans are scapegoating a scapegoat – Mayorkas – for their own benefit this election year and that of their lord and master, likely the Republican nominee for president. presidential Donald Trump. The Plenary Assembly is expected to vote next week on both articles of impeachment against Mayorkas that the Homeland Security Committee approved along party lines Tuesday evening.

If enough so-called moderate Republicans come on board, the resolution would move to the Democratic-controlled Senate, which would undoubtedly acquit Mayorkas because the charges of dereliction of duty are false. Even so, Republicans in the House of Representatives would organize an election campaign on a subject that has become problematic. main concern of votersespecially the MAGA base of their party.

Still, politics is stupid: why focus on Mayorkas rather than his boss? Here’s why: because they don’t have the means or the votes to impeach President Biden. South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman said the quiet part out loud when he explain in November that his fellow Republicans “need to focus on what they can get – Mayorkas is easier than impeaching the President of the United States.”

The Republicans’ open political maneuvering in impeaching a Cabinet secretary for only the second time in U.S. history is bad enough. “Have some popcorn,” said Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green, a Republican from Tennessee. told party donors last April, adding, “It’s going to be fun.”

What is doubly damning is that they are impeaching the Mayorkas even though they are allied with Trump to kill. a bipartisan bill that the Cabinet secretary negotiated with senators of both parties, and that it would be the toughest immigration law in living memory, with billions more for exactly what Republicans say they want: more security for borders.

Since President Reagan signed a landmark immigration law in 1986, Congress has been unable to agree on policies to better control migration waves, despite presidents of both parties tried their best to get new laws. sign and more funds approved. Republicans condemn compromise under presidents George W. Bush and Obama.

Bush’s second-term Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff, praised Congress’s dismal record when he defended Mayorkas this week in a Wall Street Journal. opinion article. Despite insufficient resources, the Mayorkas-led Department of Homeland Security has “returned, expelled, or expelled” more migrants by the end of 2023 than in any similar period in the past decade, he wrote.

“The truth is that our nation’s immigration system is overwhelmed, and DHS leaders in both parties have done their best to manage our immigration system without adequate support from Congress…” Chertoff added. “House Republicans avoid difficult policy work and hard-fought compromises. »

Chertoff is also a former federal judge, lending weight to his charge that Republicans “failed to present adequate evidence” for Mayorkas’ impeachment under the Constitution’s ” serious crimes and misdemeanors.” In this, he echoes other conservative lawyers who know the difference between legal evidence and political bullshit, including Jonathan Turley, the go-to constitutional authority for Republicans and Fox News. “Being bad at your job is not an impeachable offense,” Turley said by Mayorkas.

Indeed, the Republican resolution alleging the Secretary of State’s “deliberate and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and abuse of the public trust is nothing more than gibberish as far as in reality a banal political disagreement.

“Mayorkas is implementing President Biden’s policies. That’s what a secretary will do. said Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, the leading Republican in closed-door negotiations on a border bill. “Until we change the law…we will have the same results.”

Given their simple majority in the House, Republicans can only lose two votes on the impeachment resolution if the outcome falls along party lines, and several Republicans are on the fence. Rep. Tom McClintock, who is among several California Republicans running in swing districts, wrote voters late last year that the framers of the Constitution explicitly rejected “maladministration, malfeasance, and neglect of duty” as impeachable offenses.

Mayorkas is not even guilty of maladministration. An immigrant himself – he came to the United States as a child when his parents fled Castro’s Cuba – he lived the American dream, becoming the widely respected (except by partisans) head of the department in charge of immigration.

Like Rep. Seth Magaziner, a Rhode Island Democrat, note During the House committee’s impeachment debate, Congress so underfunded border security that Mayorkas, like his predecessors, had to exercise discretion over how many and which migrants to detain. “In the last two years of the Trump administration,” Magaziner said, “52 percent of migrants apprehended at the southern border were released and not detained. …I didn’t hear my Republican colleagues trying to impeach the Secretary of State” then.

No, they didn’t. And they shouldn’t do it now. Instead, they should act like legislators and legislate: solving problems, not campaigning on them when they get worse.


Note: The content and images used in this article is rewritten and sourced from



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