After weeks of innuendos and show hearings, Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee have finally released the actual impeachment resolution against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, ahead of a hearing today in this kangaroo court.
Those who’d hoped that the resolution itself would provide some clarity on what exactly it is that the Republicans are accusing Mayorkas of doing will unsurprisingly be disappointed. The document features much hand-wringing and little substance, not that this will stop the process.
It’s nothing new for a political party to showboat about dissatisfaction with the cabinet of an opposite-party president, and it is in fact the role of Congress to act as the ultimate check against misconduct by executive officials. This isn’t just a nasty press release, though.
Impeachment under the U.S. Constitution requires that the perpetrator have committed “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The latter phrase is ill-defined in the law, but certainly does not encompass political disagreement or electoral expediency.
Those are the real charges, of course, not the formal charges, each more laughable than the last. The authors begin by railing against Mayorkas for having supposedly ignored multiple migrant detention mandates in the law, without mentioning that a) every single immigration enforcement administrator going back to before the Department of Homeland Security even existed has done that, largely because b) actually detaining every single eligible person is simply not practically possible.
This was the case under Donald Trump just as much as it’s been the case under Joe Biden, yet we don’t seem to remember an impeachment push for any of Trump’s DHS secretaries (who, for the last nearly two years of his tenure, were not Senate-confirmed and then found to have been unlawfully appointed).
The Republicans are also very upset that Mayorkas, at the direction of the White House, instituted a mass parole program to allow would-be asylum seekers to enter the country in an orderly fashion and with U.S.-based sponsors instead of through chaotic border arrivals, which is a bit eyebrow-raising given that the latter situation is what they claim to be incensed about.
Separately, the secretary stands accused of breach of public trust for, basically, refusing to tell the congressional GOP exactly what they wanted to hear and not complying with each and every one of their ridiculous demands. The committee finishes off by calling Mayorkas, who for all intents and purposes is about as middle-of-the-road career federal official as you can get, “a threat to national and border security, the safety of the American people, and to the Constitution.”
If we’re talking about true threats to the constitutional order, we’d actually propose this shame itself as a prime example. This isn’t even really about whether one thinks Mayorkas has done a particularly good or particularly poor job, but the principle that an impeachment is a heavy-duty remedy reserved for only the most egregious conduct.
For Republicans to make a mockery of what was intended to be a weighty proceeding is just one more in their series of moves away from the democratic political order that has, while imperfect, survived as much as a Civil War before. Even if the House formalizes the impeachment, the Senate will never convict, but damage is done nonetheless.