The House on Monday voted to refer a motion to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Homeland Security Committee – stalling an effort by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., to oust the Biden administration official.
The motion passed by a 209-201 vote, with eight Republicans joining all Democrats in voting “yes.”
Greene filed the motion last Thursday, part of a long-stewing effort by far-right members of the Republican Party to impeach Mayorkas, the target of those critical of the Biden administration’s border and immigration policies.
In the resolution, Greene accused Mayorkas of violating the Secure Fence Act of 2006. The law authorized the construction of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border and declared the border would be operationally secure if no contraband or people entered the country unlawfully.
What Mayorkas has underscored repeatedly is that under that law’s definition, all homeland security secretaries have violated the Secure Fence Act, given that, since its passage, no administration has fully stopped the unlawful flow of contraband or people through the border.
Greene’s effort to bring the measure forward draws attention to an issue some Republicans had hoped to put on the back burner as the party has sought to reassess its use of impeachment authority. And by introducing the measure as a privileged resolution – which meant the House has to move on it within 48 business hours – Greene forced House Republicans to consider the resolution as Congress is facing a deadline this week to avoid a government shutdown.
Ahead of the vote Monday, Greene urged fellow Republicans to vote against the motion to refer the issue to the committee, arguing that “impeachment articles against Mayorkas have been collecting dust in committee for months.”
In a post shared on X on Monday, Greene said it is “time to move the vote to the House floor, not send it back to committee.”
Over the past year, key House committees – Oversight, Homeland Security and Judiciary – have held hearings on the situation at the border. Mayorkas and DHS have pushed back against Republicans’ claims that he has broken the law while in office. And last year, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., then the House minority leader, called on Mayorkas to resign.
Impeaching a Cabinet secretary is rare, and the effort is expected to draw backlash from Republican moderates who have voiced concerns that House Republicans’ willingness to dangle the threat of an impeachment process against Democratic figures could negatively affect the party’s chances in next year’s elections.
This is the latest in efforts by Greene to oust Biden and his appointees. Since 2022, she has filed five resolutions seeking Biden’s impeachment, but none have moved out of committee.
This year, she filed a resolution to impeach Attorney General Merrick Garland and said she is also seeking the impeachments of U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew M. Graves and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray.
Greene also recently introduced a privileged motion to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., over her comments and actions related to the Israel-Gaza war. While Greene’s effort failed, Tlaib was later censured as a result of a similar measure.