United States: Republicans indict Biden's immigration minister with aim of impeaching him

Republican elected officials in the US House of Representatives indicted, on Tuesday February 13, Alejandro Mayorkas, President Joe Biden's minister in charge of immigration, with the aim of dismissing him, accusing him of having caused a migration crisis in the border between the United States and Mexico

United States: Republicans indict Biden's immigration minister with aim of impeaching him

Republican elected officials in the US House of Representatives indicted, on Tuesday February 13, Alejandro Mayorkas, President Joe Biden's minister in charge of immigration, with the aim of dismissing him, accusing him of having caused a migration crisis in the border between the United States and Mexico.

This is the first time in nearly 150 years that Congress has decided on such a sanction against a minister. Alejandro Mayorkas, 64, narrowly escaped being charged a week ago.

“He is the chief architect of the disaster,” accused Mike Johnson, the leader of the House of Representatives. Joe Biden immediately denounced this indictment. “History will not remember with mercy the House Republicans for their blatant act of unconstitutional politicking which targeted an honorable servant of the State,” castigated the American president in a press release from the White House.

“Political maneuvering”

Even if the chances that Alejandro Mayorkas will be removed from office at the end of this impeachment procedure are extremely low given the Democratic majority in the Senate, the situation nonetheless remains a headache for Joe Biden, less than nine months before the presidential election.

Republicans, most of them close to former President Donald Trump, accuse the Democratic president of having allowed the country to be "invaded", taking as an example the record number of migrants arrested at the border, 302,000 in December.

The Democrats brush aside this procedure, accusing the Republicans of making the minister a scapegoat in the middle of an election year. Immigration has emerged as one of the key issues in the campaign for the November presidential election, which will in all likelihood pit President Joe Biden against his Republican rival Donald Trump.

The main person concerned, Alejandro Mayorkas, has repeatedly rejected the Republicans' impeachment procedure, accusing them of "wasting precious time and taxpayers' money" in a "political maneuver".

For the Senate to put the minister on trial

The last indictment of a minister by Congress dates back to… 1876. The Minister of War, William Belknap, accused of corruption, had resigned before the end of the impeachment procedure. The Constitution provides that Congress can impeach the president, a minister, or federal judges for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

The procedure takes place in two stages. First, the House of Representatives voted on Tuesday, by a simple majority, articles of impeachment detailing the facts with which the minister is accused: this is “impeachment” in English. On February 2, the Republican general staff thought they had a sufficient number of votes to win this vote, but were taken by surprise by the surprise arrival in the chamber of a Democratic elected official, Al Green, who was convalescing in due to abdominal surgery. The elected official from Arizona arrived in a wheelchair in the middle of the vote, barefoot and in hospital clothes, ultimately tipping the scales in favor of the Democrats.

Since the Republican maneuver has succeeded this time, it is up to the Senate, the upper house of Congress, to put the minister on trial. At the end of the debates, the 100 senators will vote on each article. A two-thirds majority is required to convict, in which case dismissal is automatic and without appeal. Otherwise, Alejandro Mayorkas will be acquitted.