Dan O’Donnell refutes Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher’s reasoning for voting against the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas
Feb. 8, 2024
Perspective by Dan O’Donnell
In a Wall Street Journal column Wednesday, Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher powerfully and passionately defended his decision to vote against the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. His reasoning was solid, his rationale was noble, but unfortunately it was also dead wrong.
Gallagher was one of just three Republicans to oppose impeachment (a fourth, Utah’s Blake Moore voted against the measure as a procedural move to get it back before the House next week) and justified his defection on both constitutional and precedential grounds.
“Impeachment not only would fail to resolve Mr. Biden’s border crisis but would also set a dangerous new precedent that would be used against future Republican administrations,” he wrote, arguing that Mayorkas’ refusal to enforce American immigration law amounts to “maladministration” and not a “high crime [or] misdemeanor” required for impeachment.
Gallagher notes that “the first article of impeachment lays out in grueling detail Mr. Mayorkas’s manifest incompetence” and that “incompetence doesn’t rise to the level of high crimes or misdemeanors,” but he also acknowledges that “Mayorkas is faithfully implementing the president’s ruinous policies.” This means that he is not incompetent at all; he is doing exactly what he is supposed to be doing—allowing as many illegal immigrants into the United States on bogus asylum claims as humanly possible.
In this, Mayorkas has violated two separate federal laws. The Secure Fence Act of 2006 requires the Homeland Security Secretary to “maintain operational control over the entire international land and maritime borders of the United States.” He fairly obviously has not. The Immigration and Nationality Act requires all asylum seekers who are “not clearly and beyond a doubt entitled to be admitted…[to]be detained for a [removal] proceeding.” Those who do not have a “credible fear of persecution” in their home country and thus a valid asylum claim (pretty much every alien who has entered while Mayorkashas been in office) “shall be detained…until removed.” Mayorkas has refused to comply with either provision.
This is not, as Gallagher believes, “incompetence” or “maladministration;” it is a conscious decision to unilaterally enact an unlawful scheme to aid and abet millions of people in violating the immigration laws of the United States—laws Mayorkas swore to uphold and enforce. If such a willful violation of this sacred duty on such a massive and unprecedented scale is not grounds for removal from office, then nothing is.
Gallagher is likewise misguided in his belief that impeaching Mayorkas will create a “new, lower standard for impeachment, one without any clear limiting principle” that will “pry open the Pandora’s box of perpetual impeachment.” One might be forgiven for wondering whether the Congressman has been paying attention for the past three years.
House Democrats impeached former President Trump after he left office. How exactly is it possible to lower the standard for impeachment any lower than that? The ultimate aim of impeachment is ostensibly to remove a public official from office, yet Democrats persisted in doing so after said officeholder’s term had expired solely to bar him from running for office again.
In other words, they used impeachment as a weapon against the man they knew even then would be their most likely presidential opponent in 2024. Impeachment for them wasn’t then and isn’t now a solemn, constitutional process; it is a political bludgeon that they will use again and again regardless of what Republicans do.
Impeaching Mayorkas isn’t aimed at winning an election but rather restoring the Rule of Law to a country that sorely needs it. A nation cannot exist without laws, and laws cannot exist without enforcement. When those who swore an oath to enforce the law instead preside over rampant criminality—all the while lying to the American people (even under oath) that “the border is secure”—the Rule of Law is imperiled.
For that reason above all others, the impeachment of Mayorkas isn’t just warranted, it’s badly needed.