US Republican Impeachment of Biden's Border Chief May See Swift End in Senate

US Republican Impeachment of Biden's Border Chief May See Swift End in Senate

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Democratic-majority US Senate is likely to bring a quick end this week to House Republicans' months-long drive to impeach President Joe Biden's top border official, who they accuse of failing to deter record-setting levels of illegal immigration.

Almost two months have passed since the House of Representatives narrowly voted to approve two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, an election-year move so divisive that it required two attempts to pass the narrowly Republican-controlled chamber.

Republican presidential challenger Donald Trump, who holds great sway within his party, has focused much of his campaign on blasting Biden's border policies, and Reuters/Ipsos polling shows that immigration is Republican voters' top concern.

The House on Wednesday is set to deliver two articles of impeachment charging Mayorkas with not enforcing US immigration laws and making false statements to Congress. Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer has told members to be present the next day to be sworn in as jurors for a potential impeachment trial. With a 51-49 Democratic majority, there is almost no chance Republicans would secure the 67 votes needed to oust him.

No matter the outcome, fiery words from both sides are certain to echo through Senate halls.

Biden has stood by Mayorkas, accusing House Republicans of engaging in a "blatant act of unconstitutional partisanship."

Schumer could simply bypass a trial entirely, instead calling a vote to dismiss the charges or set them aside, said two Republican sources familiar with the impeachment proceedings, who were granted anonymity to speak candidly. One of the two forecast a "zero percent" chance of a trial going forward.

A Schumer spokesperson declined to comment on specific plans and the leader himself in a letter to colleagues on Friday said, "I remind senators that your presence next week is essential."

The effort is just the second time in US history that a member of a president's cabinet has been impeached, and comes as House Republicans' impeachment case against Biden himself is losing steam.

Mayorkas, 64, is a former federal prosecutor who was born in Cuba, only to leave with his family in 1960 after Fidel Castro came to power. He maintains that the record numbers of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border over several months stem from Congress' inability to reform antiquated laws.

The US Border Patrol made more than 1 million arrests of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border illegally in the past six months, according to internal agency statistics reviewed by Reuters, a pace similar to record-breaking totals during Biden's first three years in office.

During Trump's 2017-2021 presidency, migrant arrests peaked at 852,000 in fiscal year 2019.

"I'm not claiming victory here," Mayorkas told reporters on Friday. "This is an ongoing challenge and we are incredibly devoted to meeting that challenge, and thinking creatively about what we can do."

The Biden administration says it is working to create a more humane and orderly system and that migration has reached record levels in the Western Hemisphere, not only in the US.

A bipartisan Senate border security plan to alleviate the problem was rejected by Republicans in February after Trump, who is running for president, expressed his opposition to a remedy that could rob him of a campaign issue against Biden.

The lead Republican in those negotiations, Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, in February predicted that the impeachment effort would fail in the Senate.

"It'll be dead on arrival when it comes over," Lankford told reporters at the time. He noted that a change of Homeland Security secretary would not change White House policy anyway, adding, "We're going to have the same result, because we've got the same president who's driving the policy."

But House Speaker Mike Johnson defended the move, saying that Mayorkas "willfully and consistently refused to comply with federal immigration laws, fueling the worst border catastrophe in American history."

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