The Texas Republican filed articles of impeachment against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Majorcas, spending little time in the new Congress to act on the priority that GOP leaders say will come after a thorough investigation.
Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Tex.) filed paperwork for the resolution on January 3, the first day of the 118th Congress, although delays in finding a Speaker of the House saw the paper formally filed late Monday night.
The resolution alleges that Majorcas “behaved inconsistently with his duties”, complaining that he failed to maintain operational control over the border.
The resolution came amid a busy week in the Biden administration. President Biden visited the border for the first time since taking office over the weekend, promising to deliver more resources to officers patrolling the region.
Mallorcas is in Mexico this week, where he is meeting with officials on a range of issues, including the joint migration deal unveiled by the Biden administration last week.
Mallorcas should also discuss coordinating action against transnational crime with the Mexican authorities. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fallon’s resolution will not be passed without further action from the GOP leadership, but otherwise it will kick-start a process that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is cautiously moving forward.
“House Republicans will investigate every order, every action, and every failure to determine whether we can launch an impeachment inquiry,” McCarthy told a news conference in El Paso, Texas in November.
However, impeachment charges against Majorcas were almost certain when the Republicans controlled the House of Representatives, as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security constantly thwarted the party during the Biden administration.
Republicans allege that under Biden, DHS dismantled the border security apparatus built under former President Trump, causing chaos at the border.
The main basis for the articles of impeachment is the claim that Majorcas lied to Congress, a case they support, pointing to two instances where the secretary told lawmakers that he believed the southern border was under control.
“His deliberate actions undermine our immigration system, undermine the morale of the border guards, and endanger US national security. He should be removed from office,” Fallon said in a press release.
Most border and immigration analysts agree that increased migration due to security, economic and governance conditions in the Western Hemisphere is the main reason for the large number of migrants encountered at the border.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, left, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Majorcas speak before a meeting with President Joe Biden and Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, Monday, January 9, 2023. (AP Photo/ Andrew Harnick)
And Mallorcas has come under fire from both the right and the left as DHS backs many of the Trump administration’s border policies that immigrant advocates say violate human rights.
Still, Republicans see the border as a win-win issue, and Mallorcas is the face of the Biden administration on this issue.
Majorcas, the first Hispanic ever to hold office, frequently clashed with congressional Republicans in oversight hearings.
In April, Mallorcas clashed with Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, including a notable exchange with Rep. Matt Goetz (R-Fla.) over agency reports of deportations from the interior.
This fighting exchange could set the tone for the impeachment trial.
The potential for a political circus worries Republicans who have just passed a nationally televised speaker race that has highlighted divisions within the party.
Some Republicans expressed misgivings about prosecuting Mallorcas without scrutiny.
“You have to build a business. Before you press charges, you need facts and evidence,” said Rep. Michael McCall (D-Texas).
“Has he neglected his duties? I think so,” he added.
— Updated at 14:08.