(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas called the impeachment proceedings against him “baseless” and the accusations made against him by the Homeland Security Committee “false.”
“I will defer a discussion of Constitutionality of your current effort to the many respected scholars and experts across the political spectrum who already have opined it is contrary to law,” Mayorkas writes in a nearly seven-page letter to the committee. “What I will not defer to others is a response to the politically motivated accusations and personal attacks you have made against me.”
Mayorkas said the “false accusations” made by the committee “do not” rattle him and “do not” divert him “from the law enforcement and broader public service mission to which I have devoted most of my career and to which I remain devoted.”
The House Homeland Security Committee is set to vote on whether to send articles of impeachment to the House floor for a vote. It is likely to pass despite no proof there were high crimes and misdemeanors — the usual bar for impeachment.
Policy disagreements on a “historically divisive” issue are what is going on here, he said in his letter, noting that he had a disagreement with the Trump administration through family separation.
“I have adhered scrupulously and fervently to the Oath of Office I have taken six times in my public service career,” he said.
Mayorkas, who is Cuban-American, said he has had “reverence” for law enforcement since he was brought to America by his parents who escaped the Communist takeover of Cuba.
“My parents experienced such loss at the fisted hands of authoritarianism that the American law enforcement officer stood as a tangible symbol of safety and the rule of law in our new home,” he said. “When I was a boy, my mother would have me jump out of the back seat of our family’s station wagon, approach a police officer in uniform, extend my hand, and say thank you.”
He continued in his letter: “It was because of everything America meant and gave to my family that I was motivated to enter public service.”
This is the first time Mayorkas has spoken at length about the impeachment move since articles were introduced over the weekend, and he offered a full-throated, vigorous defense of his record as secretary.
He recounted his federal service, first being appointed to serve as a U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, then as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director, and eventually as deputy secretary of Homeland Security.
“I no longer introduce and argue evidence in a federal courtroom to persuade the jury to convict a dangerous criminal, but the mission to which I remain devoted is the same: to safeguard the American people,” he said in his letter.
Mayorkas said as a U.S. attorney, he prosecuted RICO cases of national and international significance, “enforcing a wide breadth of criminal statutes.”
Republicans, in their argument to impeach him, have said Mayorkas has failed to enforce the law at the southern border.
“Instead, you claim that we have failed to enforce our immigration laws,” he said. “That is false.”
The Committee has accused the secretary of not cooperating with their oversight requests — something he said was also “baseless and inaccurate.”
“I have testified before this Committee seven times,” he wrote in his letter. “I agreed to testify again and asked to work with your staff to identify a mutually agreeable date. You did not respond to my request, changed course, and instead invited me to submit written testimony. Two days later, you issued a statement representing that every member of the Committee’s majority already had rendered their decision. I respectfully submit this letter in response.”
Secretary Mayorkas said he cooperates in “good faith” with the committee.
“I have testified more than any other member of the Cabinet,” he said, adding that despite the attempt to impeach him, he’ll still cooperate with the committee.
He ticked through the department’s accomplishments, including apprehending fentanyl smugglers and deporting criminals, but said there is much more to be done on the southern border.
Sec. Mayorkas called on Congress to get a legislative fix done at the border and said he has been working with the Senate to get it done.
“I have been privileged to join a bipartisan group of United States Senators these past several months to provide technical and operational expertise in support of their efforts to strengthen our country’s border security,” he said. “These efforts would yield significant new enforcement tools and make a substantial difference at our border.”
Mayorkas said he is hopeful that the deal gets done and that he can deliver more resources for border patrol agents in the field to better protect the border.
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