Twenty Republicans on Tuesday demanded that the House move to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in the next Congress, another sign that border issues will play a major part of the Republican oversight agenda next year.
The lawmakers, led by GOP Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, accused Mayorkas of not taking seriously the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Secretary Mayorkas has released more than one million illegal aliens into the country,” said Biggs. “Most of these released illegal aliens will never be heard from again.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., accused Mayorkas of misleading Congress by testifying under oath that the U.S. southern border was operationally under control.
“He regularly lies to the American people, claiming that the southern border is closed,” Boebert said. “I’ve been there. It’s wide open.”
Despite these renewed calls to remove Mayorkas, the effort to impeach him faces long odds.
To impeach a federal official, the House must first pass a resolution presenting its case for whatever crime or misconduct was committed that requires removal from office, which can pass with a simple majority vote. After the House vote, the Senate sits in trial and the chief justice of the Supreme Court presides.
The Senate then votes whether to convict or acquit the individual. Two-thirds of the Senate, 67 votes if all are present, is needed to convict. Democrats will hold 51 seats in the Senate next year, making it impossible to convict Mayorkas or anyone else without help from 18 Democrats.
Nonetheless, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are already planning an in-depth investigation into the border crisis, which some hardliners hope will be the first step toward impeachment.
“House Judiciary Republicans have summoned Mayorkas for border investigation,” said Rep. Mayra Flores, R-Texas. “Nothing short of an impeachment and removal proceedings should be the outcome.”
But even winning a simple majority in the House could be difficult. Republicans at most will control 226 seats and most likely will control just a few more votes than the minimum 218 needed to hold the majority. That means nearly every Republican will need to be on board with impeachment for the effort to succeed.
That looks to be a difficult prospect given the feelings of some moderate and centrist Republicans. One moderate House Republican told Fox News that impeachment might be a step too far, even though there are complaints about Mayorkas’ handling of the border.
“A lot of us were upset at the way that House Democrats politicized the impeachment process during [former] President Donald Trump’s tenure,” said one centrist GOP lawmaker. “No one wants to see a president or cabinet official impeached simply for holding different views than the party in control of the House.”