House Republicans were forced to clarify Monday they don’t actually want to deport Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas — just impeach him — after a line in their report released over the weekend caused an uproar from the White House.
The GOP-led House Homeland Security Committee dropped the full report on impeaching the Cuba-born Mayorkas, 64, after voting along party lines to advance the process last week.
“This Committee, through these articles of impeachment, begins the process of deporting Secretary Mayorkas from his position on account of his failure to comply with his official duties,” the report said on page 127.
“House Republicans’ final impeachment report literally says their impeachment is about ‘deporting’ Secretary Mayorkas[.] I’m sorry, what?” White House spokesman for oversight and investigations Ian Sams posted on X, seizing on committee Republicans’ rhetorical flourish.
The deportation reference came after Republicans had cited a quote from the late Harvard Professor Raoul Berger, a legal scholar on impeachment, in which he likened the process to deportation.
“To the extent that impeachment retains a residual punitive aura, it may be compared to deportation, which is attended by very painful consequences but which, the Supreme Court held, ‘is not a punishment for a crime,’” Berger was quoted in the prior paragraph.
A source on the committee confirmed to The Post that Republicans were merely talking about removing Mayorkas from his job, not from the country.
“Some on the left are sensationalizing this because there is no sound defense for Secretary Mayorkas’ willful refusal to comply with the law and his breach of the public trust,” the person said.
“It’s pretty clear that the reference follows from the quote in the preceding paragraph, in which the law professor simply compares the punitive aspects of impeachment and deportation,” the source added. “The language of the report is clear—Secretary Mayorkas should be impeached and removed ‘from his position.‘”
Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has backed the impeachment effort and a full House vote on the two articles is expected later this week.
Republicans have charged Mayorkas with “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and “breach of public trust.”
In particular, they have taken issue with his claims that the border is “secure” and that DHS has “operational control” of it.
The department has fiercely rebuked the gambit, calling it an “unconstitutional, evidence-free impeachment.”
“Mayorkas has repeatedly and consistently testified regarding operational control and the statutory definition of the term, which no administration has ever met, compared to the department’s use of the term. There is no basis to accuse him of lying,” DHS wrote in a scathing counter-memo last week.
The DHS further argued that Mayorkas has enforced the laws at the border, pointing out the number of illegal immigrants who “have been removed” as well as increases in fentanyl seizures and arrests.
Mayorkas would be the first Cabinet secretary to be impeached since Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876.