(The Center Square) – Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas sent a letter early Tuesday to the chairman of a U.S. House committee set to advance articles of impeachment against hm.
U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security chairman Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., says the letter is too little, too late.
The committee was meeting Tuesday to mark up articles of impeachment filed by Green, and will then vote on them. The articles are then expected to be sent to the full House for a vote to impeach.
Two articles were filed: “Willful and Systemic Refusal to Comply with the Law” and “Breach of the Public Trust,” after the committee held over a dozen hearings and issued multiple reports over the past year. They cite examples of how the committee says Mayorkas is derelict of duty.
Throughout the process Mayorkas failed to respond to subpoena requests, obstructed a DHS Inspector General investigation and audit, and repeatedly made false statements to Congress, the articles state. A coalition of Republican attorneys general and state lawmakers have also called for Congress to impeach him. Democrats have said impeachment is a political ploy while also acknowledging a border crisis has occurred under Mayorkas’ watch.
On Tuesday, Mayorkas wrote a 7-page letter to Green with attachments refuting his claims. The secretary said he takes “very seriously my responsibility to cooperate in good faith with Congress’ oversight function” and that he testified 27 times before Congress, “more than any other member of the Cabinet.”
Mayorkas also cited actions taken by the department to address fentanyl, remove illegal foreign nationals from the country, and implement a range of programs. However, he argued, the problems at the border “need a legislative solution only Congress can provide.” He again pointed to the administration’s request for additional funding, which some Republicans have argued would only facilitate current policies, which violate the laws established by Congress.
The articles cite over a dozen new parole programs created by Mayorkas, which states they are illegal.
In response to the impeachment proceedings, Mayorkas said, “Whatever proceedings you initiate, however baseless, my response of this to oversight requests will not waiver. The department has been committed to responding and will continue to respond in good faith to congressional oversight requests. I will defer a discussion of the constitutionality of your current effort to the many respected scholars and experts across the political spectrum who already have opined that it is contrary to law. What I will not defer to others is a response to the politically motivated accusations and personal attacks you have made against me.”
He then described his personal and professional background in more than two pages.
In response, Green said, “Secretary Mayorkas’ 11th-hour response to the Committee is inadequate and unbecoming of a Cabinet secretary. Our investigation has established that Secretary Mayorkas has willfully and systemically refused to comply with the laws of the United States and breached the public trust. The Committee would have preferred he accept our multiple invitations extended to him since last August to appear before us in person. A letter at 4:48am on the morning of our markup, repeating the same false claims and doubling down on his commitment to his continued lawless conduct, indicates the contempt with which he views Congress, the American people, and the Constitution he swore an oath to defend.”
Green also notes that Mayorkas spent roughly one-third of the letter “sharing personal, biographical information, referencing awards received more than 30 years ago. These obviously fail to offer a defense of his willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law or his breach of the public’s trust as secretary.”
He also said the committee asked Mayorkas to testify multiple times, which he rejected, including DHS stating Mayorkas had “limited capacity” to support a hearing request.
The committee has also published examples of “political games” it says Mayorkas played with the committee to avoid appearing in person to give testimony.