There is no doubt that impeachment, as renowned Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story said, should be a measure of last resort. But as the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives said in 2019, "[w]hen faced with credible evidence of extraordinary wrongdoing … the House [must]investigate and determine whether impeachment is warranted."
The "extraordinary wrongdoing" of Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas in causing an unprecedented border, national security and illegal immigration catastrophe warrants such an investigation.
We don’t take that position lightly. Federal officials should not be impeached for political reasons or because the members disagree with the policy priorities of the administration that controls the executive branch.
But that is not the situation with Mayorkas, who is usurping the powers of Congress on a wide scale.
He has violated his oath of office by repeatedly violating the laws he swore faithfully to enforce. He has abused the powers of his office through reckless conduct that threatens the sovereignty of the U.S. and risks the safety and security of the American people and the law enforcement personnel of the Department of Homeland Security. And he has betrayed the public trust by repeatedly making false statements to Congress and misleading the public about the nature and effects of his misconduct.
No cabinet official has the constitutional authority to ignore the law that he has taken an oath to enforce, and certainly not to violate the law or to instruct executive branch employees to do so. No cabinet official has the right to make misleading statements or to lie to Congress and the public.
Yet that is exactly what Secretary Mayorkas has done since his first day in office.
His impeachable conduct includes throwing open the border and orchestrating the mass release and paroling of millions of illegal aliens in direct contravention of federal immigration law and ignoring the law’s mandatory detention and deportation provisions. His new program of preregistering illegal aliens for mass entry and release in the U.S. institutionalizes his flagrant violations of the law.
His classification of almost all illegal aliens as refugees and asylum seekers is an outrageous abuse of his powers, an action that encourages fraud. He is deliberately inducing aliens to put their lives in the hands of ruthless cartel members and human traffickers, whose power and profits Mayorkas is directly benefiting by ensuring the success of their criminal operations.
And his open-border policies have caused a humanitarian disaster and put the American public in danger from unknown quantities of fentanyl and other deadly drugs being smuggled in, along with terrorists and dangerous, violent criminals.
All of these misdeeds fit well within the definition of "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" that the Constitution says merit impeachment, as well as the application by Congress of that clause in the 20 impeachments that have occurred in our history.
As the House Judiciary Committee outlined in 1974, impeachment is proper when an official exceeds the powers of his office, behaves in a manner grossly incompatible with the proper functions and purpose of his office, and employs the power of his office for an improper purpose. Mayorkas has done all three.
In 2019, the House impeached Donald Trump for acting "in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States."
There is no question that Mayorkas has acted "in a manner contrary to his trust" as the head of Homeland Security. His defiance of the requirements of federal immigration law and the false testimony he has submitted to Congress are "subversive of constitutional government" and the role of Congress in establishing the laws the executive branch is obligated to enforce.
The only cabinet official previously impeached by Congress was Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876. Included among the charges were that he "disregarded his duty as Secretary of War." In light of his open and notorious actions and the mountain of evidence showing that Mayorkas has deliberately defied, undermined, and contravened the statutory responsibilities and powers of his office, he has obviously disregarded his duties as Secretary of Homeland Security.
We agree that impeachment is not appropriate for mere disagreements over an exercise of policy discretion. But when the officer entrusted with the nation’s immigration laws and border security deliberately, intentionally and systematically refuses to recognize and uphold the requirements of those laws and assumes instead an unlimited power to suspend and violate the law, that is conduct far beyond simple policy disagreement.
It is extraordinary misconduct that threatens our constitutional form of government and warrants impeachment.
This piece originally appeared in Fox News