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The impeachment process should be a serious affair. Our nation’s founders codified it into the Constitution as a tool to remove officeholders if they have commit “Treason, Bribery or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” That is why for the first two centuries of our nation’s existence, it was used only once against a sitting president, and in rare occasions against judges and other officials.
In recent years, however, Congress members have started using it as a political tool, to pester or embarrass officials they don’t like. In doing so, they have rendered the sanction largely ineffective.
They should knock it off.
A majority of members of the House of Representatives did the right thing in declining to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday. They shouldn’t try it again, although they already have said they will.
Pursuing a policy that certain lawmakers don’t like isn’t a “high crime or misdemeanor.” Neither is ineptitude.
Tuesday’s effort to impeach Mayorkas clearly had little to do with an objective determination that he had committed any crime. The vote was almost entirely along party lines, with all Democrats voting against impeachment and all but four voting for it. Those four defections were the difference, as the measure failed by a single vote.
The impeachment motion, sponsored by Donald Trump supporter Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, held two counts against the DHS chief: that he failed to detain all immigrants while they await their immigration hearings, and that he allowed immigrants into the country against lawmakers’ wishes.
In reality, those actions merely continue policies that have always been in place. Most immigrants are released after they are initially processed — the current administration calls it humanitarian parole — and immigration has always been a staple of U.S. policy — and law.
Congress has passed no laws that would make Mayorkas’ actions criminal.
But such is the current penchant for misusing the impeachment process.
It started with the 1998 impeachment of Bill Clinton for having sex with an intern an lying about it — something that hardly imperils our nation’s security or injures the public.
Current House members now are holding an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden — not because they have found evidence of wrongdoing but to look for a reason to charge him.
If and when Biden is impeached, or new charges are filed against Mayorkas, the resulting vote already is known; votes will be along party lines and a Democratically controlled Senate likely will acquit.
Congress members should stop this petty misuse of a vital governmental process. Instead of wasting their time — and taxpayers’ money — on this silly impeachment game, they should spend that time debating real immigration reform and giving Mayorkas a legal blueprint of the actions he and this country should pursue.
Alejandro Mayorkas is simply trying to do his job, despite roadblocks imposed by the very Congress members who say he isn’t. Those lawmakers need to do theirs, and try to enact reasonable, workable and humane immigration policy.