House Republicans unveil articles of impeachment against DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas

WASHINGTON — House Republicans took a significant step forward Sunday in their effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by formalizing their allegations ahead of a committee vote.

Republicans allege in the first impeachment article that Mayorkas displayed a “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law,” while the second article argues that he breached public trust by having “knowingly made false statements, and knowingly obstructed lawful oversight of the Department of Homeland Security.”

“These articles lay out a clear, compelling, and irrefutable case for Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ impeachment,” said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., in a statement.

Image: Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas  (John Moore / Getty Images)
Image: Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (John Moore / Getty Images)

“The results of his lawless behavior have been disastrous for our country,” added Green, who authored the impeachment articles.

The Department of Homeland Security responded Sunday with a memo saying Republicans “undermined efforts to achieve bipartisan solutions and ignored the facts, legal scholars and experts, and even the Constitution itself in their quest to baselessly impeach Secretary Mayorkas.”

Green’s committee will consider the articles of impeachment on Tuesday. Approval would move the impeachment effort one step closer to a floor vote in the House. Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said in a letter to colleagues Friday that "a vote on the floor will be held as soon as possible thereafter" but did not specify a date.

The Republican-led Homeland Security Committee has criticized Mayorkas’ implementation of a series of family reunification parole programs that allowed certain foreign nationals to wait in the U.S. for immigration visas, calling the moves unlawful. The first article of impeachment argues that Mayorkas instead should have prioritized resources for enforcing detention of people who illegally crossed the border.

The DHS said Sunday that under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the department has adhered “to the mandatory detention requirements of the INA to the maximum extent possible,” but that a “standard requiring 100% detention would mean that Congress should have impeached every DHS Secretary since the Department was founded.”

In the second impeachment article, Republicans allege that Mayorkas knowingly make false statements to Congress that the border is secure and that he obstructed oversight.

“Congress has a duty to see that the executive branch implements and enforces the laws we have passed. Yet Secretary Mayorkas has repeatedly refused to do so,” Green said on Sunday. “His lawless behavior was exactly what the Framers gave us the impeachment power to remedy. It is time we take this affront to a coequal branch of government, to the Constitution, and to the American people seriously.”

Democrats have argued that there is no legal basis for impeachment. Mayorkas offered to testify in the impeachment inquiry this month, though Green has accused the secretary of turning down the committee’s request.

"What is glaringly missing from these articles is any real charge or even a shred of evidence of high crimes or misdemeanors — the Constitutional standard for impeachment," Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the top Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement Sunday. "That should come as no surprise because Republicans’ so-called ‘investigation’ of Secretary Mayorkas has been a remarkably fact-free affair."

The House Homeland Security Committee officially launched impeachment hearings this month.

The advancement of impeachment articles comes amid negotiations between the White House and Congress about border policy changes. The Biden administration last year made a supplemental request tying border funding to aid for Ukraine and Israel. Senate negotiators have recently accelerated talks to strike a deal on those issues, even as Trump has encouraged Republicans to reject a bipartisan border deal.

President Joe Biden reiterated his intent to tackle border security in a statement Friday night but also went a step further by vowing to "shut down" the border when it's “overwhelmed” if Congress passes bipartisan immigration legislation giving him that authority.

“For everyone who is demanding tougher border control, this is the way to do it,” he said of the emerging deal in the Senate. “If you’re serious about the border crisis, pass a bipartisan bill and I will sign it.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com