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Mayorkas impeachment short-lived in U.S. Senate courtesy of Democratic majority

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune.

In this image from video from Senate Television, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., swears senators in for the impeachment trial of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, in Washington. (Senate Television via AP)

  • The House sought the impeachment of the Homeland Security Secretary over “his unlawful conduct” that has resulted in millions of aliens illegally entering and remaining in the U.S.

As expected, the impeachment proceedings against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas were short-lived in the U.S. Senate.

Lasting just three hours after Senators were sworn in and seated as jurors in the trial, the Democratic majority voted on Wednesday to end the proceedings by a straight party-line vote of 51-49.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told the chamber that the article of impeachment did not “allege conduct that rises to the level of a high crime of misdemeanor” necessary under Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

Schumer moved to dismiss the articles despite objections from Republicans in the Senate.

“Never before in the history of our republic has the Senate dismissed or tabled articles of impeachment when the impeached individual was alive and had not resigned,” said Senator Erich Schmitt (R-MO).

Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) expressed his displeasure with the Democrats’ failure to hold a proper trial in the Senate as has been precedent.

“By doing what we just did, we have in effect ignored the directions of the House which were to have a trial,” said Senator McConnell. “We had no evidence, no procedure. It is not a proud day in the history of the Senate.”

Mississippi’s two Republican Senators, Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, voted with their GOP colleagues in favor of hearing the evidence and conducting the trial as has been the case when the House sends over articles of impeachment.

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker poses a parliamentary inquiry during the impeachment trial of Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (Photo from CSPAN)

At one point during the Senate floor proceedings, Senator Wicker rose with a parliamentary inquiry, asking, “Are we about to set a precedent that the allegation of a felony is not a high crime and misdemeanor?” The chair said Wicker’s question was not an appropriate parliamentary inquiry, to which Wicker responded by saying, “There are other ways for the majority to move this off the floor of the Senate but I would urge my colleagues to understand what we’re doing.”

In a social media post on X (formerly Twitter), Senator Hyde-Smith said Senate Democrats insulted the American people by suppressing the trial.

“Senate Democrats insulted the Senate as an institution and, more importantly, the American people by suppressing the impeachment trial for [Secretary Mayorkas] and denying the right of every American to hear the evidence,” Hyde-Smith shared.

Senator Hyde-Smith added that Democrats wanted the trail stopped because it would be politically inconvenient for them.

The White House, however, was pleased with the news out of the Senate, saying the impeachment of Mayorkas was “rightfully voted down.”

How we got here

Secretary Mayorkas’ impeachment in February was the first for a cabinet level official since Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876. The articles of impeachment against Mayorkas outlined in H.Res. 863 state that he was being impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors related to repeatedly violating laws enacted by Congress regarding immigration and border security.

The House Resolution on the matter stated:

“In large part because of his unlawful conduct, millions of aliens have illegally entered the United States on an annual basis with many unlawfully remaining in the United States. His refusal to obey the law is not only an offense against the separation of powers in the Constitution of the United States, it also threatens our national security and has had a dire impact on communities across the country. Despite clear evidence that his willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law has significantly contributed to unprecedented levels of illegal entrants, the increased control of the Southwest border by drug cartels, and the imposition of enormous costs on States and localities affected by the influx of aliens, Alejandro N. Mayorkas has continued in his refusal to comply with the law, and thereby acted to the grave detriment of the interests of the United States.”

The impeachment articles also outline the rise in illegal entries into the U.S. since Mayorkas became Homeland Security Secretary. According to the resolution, since fiscal year 2021 under the Biden Administration, over 6 million encounters with illegal migrants have occurred at the U.S.-Mexico border with 1.75 million entrants not being turned back or apprehended after making an illegal entry. In addition, the immigration court backlog has more than doubled during the tenure of Mayorkas, from about 1.3 million cases to over 3 million.

Those numbers have continued to rise in the two months since the House Resolution was passed.

For his part, Secretary Mayorkas has called the allegations against him “false,” and President Joe Biden (D) has stood by his appointee.

Mississippi’s 3rd District Congressman Michael Guest (R) was instrumental in the House Committee on Homeland Security’s yearlong investigation into Secretary Mayorkas’ leadership. Guest was one of the impeachment managers who helped deliver the articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

Congressman Michael Guest (left) was among the House Impeachment Managers delivering the articles of impeachment against Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. (Photo from RepMichaelGuest on X)

“Secretary Mayorkas has failed in his responsibilities to secure our southwest border, leading to a true border and immigration crisis in our country,” Congressman Guest said.

Following the actions in the Senate, Guest expressed his displeasure.

“The Senate has failed to hold a trial. Those Senators voting to dismiss impeachment without a trial have given their complete endorsement of Biden’s border catastrophe,” the Congressman said.

Congressman Mike Ezell (R), Mississippi’s 4th District Representative, also sits on the House Homeland Security Committee. He, too, shared his frustration with Senate Democrats.

“Today, Senate Democrats chose blind support of this administration’s failures over their constitutional duties,” Ezell posted on X. “[Homeland Security Republicans] spent nearly a year investigating Secretary Mayorkas’s refusal to enforce our laws. The Senate refused to spend even an hour considering his impeachment.”

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Read original article by clicking here.

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