House Republicans impeach DHS Secretary Mayorkas by single vote

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, April 28, 2022, in Washington. [AP Photo/Evan Vucci]

The impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, approved by the US House of Representatives by a one-vote margin, is a further demonstration of the control which the fascist right exercises over the House Republican caucus.

Despite the obvious fact that the impeachment will go nowhere in the Senate, and may even be tabled without a trial, the House leadership insisted on the vote, and all but three Republicans in the House voted for it, including so-called moderates from districts won by Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race.

The pace was set by Mark Green of Tennessee, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, an openly racist and fascistic conspiracy theorist. Both will be impeachment managers if there actually is a trial of Mayorkas in the Senate. 

The vote by 214-213 would have failed if conducted later this week, once Democrat Tom Suozzi is sworn in as a congressman after winning the special election for New York’s Third Congressional District on Long Island Tuesday.

Two Democrats and two Republicans missed the vote Tuesday, three because of airline flight cancellations stranding them in Florida, and one, California Democrat Judy Chu, because she contracted COVID-19 over the weekend and was quarantining.

Without these accidental occurrences, and counting Suozzi, the vote in the House would have been 216-216, with three Republicans joining the Democratic minority, and the impeachment would have been defeated, as it was initially last week, with a tie vote of 215-215.

The constitutional basis of the impeachment is even more tenuous than the margin of the vote. The two counts of the impeachment provide no evidence that Mayorkas has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors,” merely that he has carried out the policy of the Biden administration on the treatment of migrants at the US-Mexico border.

This policy is truly criminal, but not in the sense meant by the Republicans. They are impeaching Mayorkas because, in their view, his policy has not been criminal enough.

The Biden administration has dropped the pretense of the 2020 election campaign that they opposed Trump’s policy of brutal repression of immigrants at the border. This included packed detention camps, separation of parents and children, the “remain in Mexico” campaign which forced migrants to wait on the other side of the border while their asylum claims were processed (with glacial slowness), as well as the raids on workplaces and immigrant neighborhoods by armed gangs from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Once Biden entered the White House, he did not empty or dismantle the detention camps. The “remain in Mexico” has been transformed into “remain in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador,” as the administration pays off right-wing regimes in Central America to block migrants, as well as the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico, the main subcontractor for ICE. Biden has poured billions into ICE and the Border Patrol, hired thousands of new agents, and even completed a few sections of Trump’s border wall.

Biden even pledged that he would order a complete shutdown of the border if given the power to do so by Congress, if only the Republicans would agree to provide the next $60 billion in funding for the war against Russia in Ukraine, the central priority of his administration.

Trump and the fascist right, however, want an intensification of the border repression and seek to use the crisis at the border, caused in large part by mounting US-backed oppression and suffering throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in Asia and Africa, as an issue in the 2024 election campaign.

On the fascist right, Mayorkas, a Cuban immigrant and Jew, has been a particular target for both his national origin and religion. He is portrayed as living proof of the “Great Replacement Theory,” the demented claim that wealthy Jews like billionaire George Soros are promoting immigration from Asia, Africa and Latin America into the United States in order to “replace” the white population.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, previously a QAnon supporter, is one of many in Congress, including the number-three Republican in the caucus, Elise Stefanik of New York, who embrace a version of the Great Replacement Theory. She said on Fox News, “Democrats are going to bring in millions and millions of illegals and turn them into Democrat voters.”

A coalition of 18 Jewish advocacy groups denounced the impeachment of Mayorkas as a concession to antisemitism.

Mark Green, who as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee oversaw the vote to bring charges against Mayorkas, announced Wednesday that he would not seek reelection to the House. He is the fourth House committee chairman to announce their retirement, before an election where the Republicans are expected to lose control, or at best, retain only the narrow majority they presently have.