In a close decision, the House of Representatives has voted to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, marking the first impeachment of a cabinet

member in almost 150 years.

Republicans have pointed fingers at Mayorkas for an unprecedented surge in migrants at the US-Mexico border.

With a narrow margin of 214 to 213, the Republican-led chamber passed the impeachment resolution after an unsuccessful attempt last week.

The matter now advances to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it is anticipated to falter.

President Joe Biden criticized the vote on Tuesday, denouncing it as a "blatant act of unconstitutional partisanship" and a mere "political stunt."

Critics of Mayorkas argue that he has failed to fulfill his duty to secure the border, a charge contested by 210 Democrats who voted against impeachment, joined by three Republican representatives: Tom McClintock of California, Ken Buck of Colorado, and Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin.

The dissenting Republicans also opposed the initial impeachment effort, contending that impeaching an official without grave wrongdoing would undermine the constitutional process and offer little remedy to the border crisis.

Since 2021, over 6.3 million migrants have entered the US unlawfully, escalating immigration into a divisive issue, particularly in the run-up to the November election, where it serves as a focal point of Donald Trump's campaign against Biden.

In a post-vote statement, President Biden stood by Mayorkas, praising him as "an honorable public servant" who has steadfastly upheld the rule of law and demonstrated a profound commitment to national values.

Meanwhile, Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Mia Ehrenberg rebuked Republicans for prioritizing constitutional wrangling over addressing pressing border challenges.

House Speaker Mike Johnson of the Republican Party insisted that Mayorkas "deserves to be impeached."

Throughout two January hearings, Republicans accused Mayorkas of neglecting immigration policies and deceiving about border security.

Unexpectedly, Democrat Al Green of Texas appeared in the chamber clad in hospital scrubs, having been wheeled in after surgery, to vote against impeachment.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, absent during the last vote due to cancer treatment, returned to cast his ballot, providing Republicans with the needed margin to secure the vote.

Impeachment, delineated in the US Constitution, initiates the process of ousting a federal official for high crimes or misdemeanors, necessitating a simple majority in the House and a subsequent trial in the Senate, where a two-thirds majority is imperative for conviction.

Given the Senate's slim Democratic majority, the impeachment endeavor is unlikely to prosper.

The House is scheduled to deliver the impeachment articles to the Senate on February 26.

The last cabinet secretary to face impeachment was Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876, although he resigned shortly before the vote.

A January poll conducted by CBS indicates that nearly half of Americans perceive the border situation as a crisis, with 63% advocating for tougher border policies.

US Customs and Border Protection reported a 50% decline in border crossings in January, attributing the sharp drop to seasonal patterns and intensified enforcement efforts. Photo by DHSgov, Wikimedia commons.