US Republicans fail in impeachment proceedings against ministers

The US Republicans want to drive Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas out of office because of his immigration policy. But the project ended in embarrassment: there was a lack of unity within their own ranks.

In the dispute over border policy, the opposition US Republicans have failed in their controversial attempt to initiate impeachment proceedings against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. In the House of Representatives on Tuesday, a corresponding motion from the Conservatives narrowly missed the necessary majority with 214 votes to 216. It’s a serious defeat for the Republicans, who make up the majority in the chamber of Congress – and a victory for President Joe Biden’s Democrats.

Democrats had condemned Republican efforts to impeach Mayorkas as politically motivated. The approach was also not without controversy among the Republicans – several conservative MPs therefore voted against the so-called impeachment on Tuesday. Many legal experts are of the opinion that the conditions for impeachment proceedings against the minister responsible for border protection do not exist.

Republicans accuse Mayorkas of lying to Congress

Republicans accuse Mayorkas of “deliberately” creating a crisis at the US border with Mexico through “gross incompetence” and a “year-long refusal to enforce the laws passed by Congress.” The Secretary of Homeland Security is also said to have lied to Congress.

If the Republicans had won the vote in the House of Representatives, it would have been the first impeachment trial of a US minister since 1876. In any case, Mayorkas’ impeachment was considered impossible: the Democrats are in the majority in the Senate, where the impeachment trial would have taken place. The two-thirds majority necessary for removal would never have been met in the upper house.

Border protection and immigration policy are among the most hotly contested domestic policy issues in the United States – and are also an important election issue. The arrival of numerous refugees and migrants, especially from South and Central America, at the border between Mexico and the USA has been posing huge challenges for the US authorities for years. The Republicans accuse Biden and his Democrats of allowing hundreds of thousands of foreigners to enter the country irregularly.

Most recently, both parties argued over a legislative package that would expand border protection and at the same time release billions of dollars in new aid to Ukraine and new aid to Israel. Senators from Democrats and Republicans worked out a corresponding proposal with a total volume of 118 billion dollars (around 110 billion euros), but the Republicans have since turned away from the plan.

Trump wants to use migration in the election campaign

The reason is the rejection by former President Donald Trump, who wants to win back the White House in the presidential election in November – and wants to use border policy in the election campaign. The right-wing populist has openly spoken out against the reform package, putting pressure on his Republican parliamentarians to let it fail.

Biden warned urgently on Tuesday that the deal would fail – especially with regard to new military aid for Ukraine, on which Kiev urgently needs. “The clock is ticking,” warned the president. Failure of the package would benefit Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine.

“We can’t run away now. Putin is betting on that,” Biden said. “Supporting this law means opposing Putin. Opposing the law means playing into his hands.” Biden also criticized Trump with sharp words. The ex-president and presidential candidate spends his time “threatening and intimidating” Republican senators and representatives in order to prevent the legislative package. “It looks like they’re buckling.”

Republicans, meanwhile, tried to push a $17.6 billion aid bill for Israel only through the House on Tuesday. This plan failed due to resistance from Democrats and a number of Republicans. The Democrats insist on passing aid for Israel and Ukraine together.