- The Washington Times - Monday, February 27, 2023

Republicans don’t have the votes to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, according to Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a key lawmaker pushing the effort.

Mr. Gaetz and Republican colleagues have been trying to lay the case for impeachment in early hearings on the chaos at the southern border. But he said Monday that they are far from getting there.

“We don’t have the votes,” he said.

Pressed on whether they can get there, he said, “I don’t think we’re close to having the votes.”

The assessment is a significant setback for Mr. Mayorkas’ opponents, who accuse him of lying, failing to follow his oath of office and overseeing an unprecedented breakdown at the border.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has asked the chairmen of the Judiciary and Oversight and Accountability committees to probe Mr. Mayorkas’ actions to see whether cause exists to launch an impeachment inquiry.

They have each held hearings on the border, highlighting the breakdown.

But the actual case for Mr. Mayorkas committing a “high crime” or “misdemeanor,” the standards the Constitution lays out for impeachment, are not well developed at this point. And some Republicans are wary of pulling the trigger on a process that’s extremely unlikely to result in conviction in the Senate.

Impeachment requires only a majority vote in the House, which might be possible in the Republican-majority chamber. But conviction and removal from office takes a two-thirds vote in the Democratic-majority Senate, which is a much less plausible scenario.

Mr. Mayorkas, when asked about impeachment, has brushed aside the threat, saying he is focused on his job.

Two impeachment resolutions have been introduced in the House. One, sponsored by Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, has 30 co-sponsors.

The other, by Texas Rep. Pat Fallon, has 41 co-sponsors.

Mr. Biggs’ article of impeachment accuses Mr. Mayorkas of refusing to get operational control of the border, instead catching and releasing a flood of illegal immigrants into the U.S. Mr. Biggs said that violates the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Mr. Fallon’s resolution contains two charges, one based on violations of the INA and the other accusing him of lying to Congress by claiming the border is secure.

At a hearing in Yuma, Arizona, last week, Mr. Gaetz sought to bolster the impeachment argument. He quizzed one of the witnesses, a Yuma County supervisor, on whether Mr. Mayorkas had ever lied to him.

“Yes,” Supervisor Jonathan Lines responded.

Mr. Gaetz asked for the details and Mr. Lines said Mr. Mayorkas had promised him last year that Homeland Security would close nine gaps in the border wall that had resulted from President Biden’s halt on border-wall construction.

None of the gaps has been closed, Mr. Lines said.

“This is not a lack of ability, it is a lack of will,” Mr. Gaetz said.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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