(Daily Signal)—In considering the articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, it’s appropriate for each House member to ask: Is his central role in precipitating our unprecedented immigration disaster and destroying the security and well-being of the American people tolerable and consistent with the rule of law?
It’s not. The grounds for impeaching Mayorkas are overwhelming.
What’s at issue in this impeachment is not just a policy dispute over how best to enforce the nation’s immigration laws. Mayorkas is actively nullifying and undermining those laws.
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It’s no excuse for Mayorkas to say he’s just following President Joe Biden’s orders. And it can’t be the case that the House’s only proper option in the face of the current lawlessness is to impeach the president.
Biden and his White House advisers never could carry out this administration’s disastrous open-border agenda on their own. Biden can do it only through the active agency of a homeland security secretary who’s willing to abuse the powers of his department and violate the laws he’s sworn to uphold.
As a Senate-confirmed officer of the government, Mayorkas has a duty to follow the law faithfully; he should refuse to carry out directives that are inconsistent with the law, or else resign from office.
We are a nation of laws, and our republican government cannot function if the civil officers of the government are not held to account when they act in contravention of the law, even when they do so at the behest of the president.
Some may think that Biden will just continue with his current agenda notwithstanding impeachment, and simply put another willing lackey in place if Mayorkas were to be removed from office. But the president’s ability to do so would be much more constrained and subject to greater and more intense scrutiny by Congress and the public if the articles of impeachment are approved.
Border security never has been perfect and previous secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security have exercised some degree of enforcement discretion, including regarding parole and mandatory detention. But Mayorkas clearly has crossed the line of permissible discretion into flagrant nullification and violation of the law.
It is the proper constitutional role of the House of Representatives to declare that Mayorkas has gone far beyond what is tolerable and consistent with the duties and privileges of his office.
As Justice Samuel Alito made clear in dissenting from a recent Supreme Court decision holding that Texas lacked standing to challenge Mayorkas’ refusal to enforce the immigration laws, the House’s prerogative of impeachment is one of the only tools available to challenge this lawlessness, short of repudiation by the people in the next presidential election.
Some have raised the specter that if Mayorkas is impeached, it may become more common for the House to attempt to impeach Cabinet secretaries. But that’s a red herring.
Mayorkas’ gross misconduct and violations of the law are so extraordinarily extreme and intolerable that an impeachment in this case should not create a precedent that would become the norm going forward.
If anything, it should have the effect of discouraging such extraordinary misconduct by future Cabinet members. In any event, of course, nothing the current House does or doesn’t do will dictate how a future House may attempt to use its power of impeachment in other cases.
If Mayorkas is allowed to get away with the abuses and course of misconduct he has been guilty of, then it could be said that the House’s power to impeach civil officers itself would become a nullity.