Three former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretaries spanning Democratic and Republican administrations wrote a letter to Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) expressing their opposition to the House GOP’s efforts to impeach current Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
“We have differing views among us on the policies pursued by President Biden and implemented by Secretary Mayorkas. But we collectively agree that policy differences are not Constitutionally permissible impeachment offenses. Rather, they are issues to be solved via legislation or elections,” the letter, signed by former secretaries Michael Chertoff, Janet Napolitano and Jeh Charles Johnson, said.
Chertoff served as DHS secretary for President George W. Bush. Napolitano served under President Obama from 2009-13, and Johnson served the Obama administration from 2013-17.
The House is set to vote Tuesday on articles of impeachment against Mayorkas. He has become the face of what many Republicans say is the Biden administration’s failure to secure the country’s southern border.
The former secretaries said that during their respective terms, when members of Congress disagreed with policy made by the administration in charge, they would hold hearings and consider new laws, what they describe as “the way our political system is supposed to work.”
“To instead allow impeachments of Cabinet officials over political disagreements would jeopardize our national security; make Cabinet-level positions more difficult to fill under future administrations; and undermine the ability of future officials to fulfill their vital missions,” the letter said.
The letter highlighted the fact that “the Department of Homeland Security is responsible for much more than managing our immigration system.”
It said impeaching Mayorkas would undermine the department’s mission, including efforts to stop terrorism.
The secretaries issued a warning to Johnson, who has openly opposed a Biden-backed border deal that has been in the works for months. After viewing the text of the bill Sunday, Johnson said it is “even worse than we expected” and insisted it would be “dead on arrival” in the House.
“If you want a solution to strengthen our border security – and a solution is badly needed – you would be well advised to work with the Senate on the bipartisan bill they have put forward,” the letter said. “Impeaching Secretary Mayorkas solves nothing and leaves our outdated immigration system exactly where it is now – broken.”