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WASHINGTON, Nov 13 (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Monday to pause the effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, halting a Republican campaign that alleges he has been derelict in his duty of in managing the U.S.-Mexico border.
The articles of impeachment, introduced by Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene on Thursday, contend that Mayorkas, an appointee of Democratic President Joe Biden, violated his oath of office by failing to constrain the record numbers of migrants arriving at the border.
The House voted to refer the articles back to the House Homeland Security Committee, which is carrying out its own investigation of Mayorkas’s alleged dereliction of duty.
The move comes as Congress has less than five days to extend funding or send the U.S. into its fourth partial government shutdown in a decade.
The impeachment comes after months of threats from Republicans, who blame Biden’s administration for rolling back harsh restrictions on accepting migrants and asylum seekers put in place under then-President Donald Trump, a Republican.
If the Republican-controlled House impeaches Mayorkas, he will almost definitely be found innocent after a trial in the Senate, which Democrats control by a slim margin.
In response to the initial impeachment motion, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokesperson said lawmakers should stop “their reckless impeachment charades and attacks on law enforcement” and instead “deliver desperately needed reforms for our broken immigration system.”
Since Biden took office in 2021, U.S. border agents have made more than 5 million arrests of migrants making irregular crossings – that is, not through a controlled border station – over the U.S.-Mexico border. Migrants have arrived from around the world; large numbers have fled economic and political turmoil in Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
Both Biden and Trump are seeking another term in office in 2024, with Trump the leading candidate for the Republican nomination.
House Republicans have also launched an impeachment inquiry into Biden. The probe is focused on the president’s son, Hunter Biden, and the White House has denied any wrongdoing.
Reporting by Moira Warburton and Ted Hesson; Editing by Scott Malone, Jonathan Oatis and Gerry Doyle
Ted Hesson is an immigration reporter for Reuters, based in Washington, D.C. His work focuses on the policy and politics of immigration, asylum and border security. Prior to joining Reuters in 2019, Ted worked for the news outlet POLITICO, where he also covered immigration. His articles have appeared in POLITICO Magazine, The Atlantic and VICE News, among other publications. Ted holds a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and bachelor’s degree from Boston College.