In a Special Report published February 6, 2023, The Heritage Foundation analyzed the constitutional foundations of impeachment and examined the directives, policies, and statements of Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas to conclude that there is a strong legal basis for his impeachment. The report identifies three categories of grounds for the U.S. House of Representatives to pursue articles of impeachment.
First, Secretary Mayorkas has violated his oath of office by repeatedly contravening and violating the laws he has sworn to enforce. His policy of using parole to release tens of thousands of aliens en masse into the U.S. each month violates section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and circumvents the established procedures for refugee admissions. Secretary Mayorkas has also ignored the mandatory detention and removal requirements of section 235 of the INA, and his directions to Immigration and Customs Enforcement not to take enforcement action against most deportable aliens defy section 237. He has asserted a sweeping power to suspend U.S. immigration laws, which cannot be justified as an exercise of enforcement discretion. His own actions have caused this nation’s historic border crisis, and he refuses to employ the full scope of the department’s available enforcement resources or to coordinate with state and local law enforcement to secure the border.
Second, Secretary Mayorkas has abused the powers of his office through reckless conduct that threatens the sovereignty of the United States and puts at risk the safety and security of the American people. He has released millions of illegal aliens into the U.S., given Mexican drug cartels operational control of the U.S. border, and allowed 1.2 million known “gotaways”—aliens who intentionally evaded border agents—to enter the U.S. Among them are certainly convicted felons, gang members, drug traffickers, and likely known and suspected terrorists. Despite Secretary Mayorkas’s directives and policies causing record increases in illegal entries, including unaccompanied minors, tragic deaths and injuries from the smuggling of dangerous drugs such as fentanyl, migrant deaths, and cartel profits, he refuses to change course.
Third, Secretary Mayorkas has betrayed the public trust by making false statements under oath to Congress and misleading the public about the nature and effects of his directives and policies.
From his first day in office, Secretary Mayorkas has opened the U.S. border and unleashed a great magnetic force, deliberately enticing millions of persons to the southern border and generating a humanitarian catastrophe and an immigration disaster of unprecedented proportions.
In requiring that they carry out their legal duties “faithfully,” the U.S. Founders rejected any notion that executive officers could suspend laws they are sworn to enforce when, as here, there is no argument those laws are unconstitutional. Impeachment is not the proper response for mere policy disagreements—but when the principal officer entrusted with enforcing the nation’s immigration laws systematically refuses to uphold the requirements of those laws and assumes an unlimited power to suspend and violate the law, he has usurped the role of Congress. That goes far beyond an exercise of policy discretion. And when that officer misleads Congress and the public and abuses the powers of his office recklessly and flagrantly, he finds himself in a realm far removed from any simple policy disagreement. Such behavior threatens the American constitutional form of government.
Secretary Mayorkas’s misconduct is so reckless, so irresponsible, and so serious that he should be impeached, removed from office, and disqualified from holding any further office.