Legal experts say the GOP violated the Meyergas law

Republicans plan to hold a historic vote on Tuesday to fire Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

But a review of the laws the GOP pointed to in its articles of impeachment, how the secretary implemented those laws, and the policy approach as opposed to illegal actions indicate a difference.

Immigration legal experts say Mayorkas was targeted for using immigration laws in slightly different ways than his predecessors.

However, it has become fodder for a second impeachment of the cabinet secretary, as figures on the left and right argue that the GOP case falls short of the standard for impeachment.

“This is really about policy differences and politics. These arguments that he violated the law and violated court orders are a smokescreen,” said Doris Meissner, former commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the predecessor of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“There are significant policy differences here.”

Republicans devote 15 of their 20-page articles of impeachment to Mayorgas' “willful and systematic refusal to comply with the law” under several provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

“He willfully and systematically refused to comply with laws enacted by Congress and violated the trust of Congress and the American people. The results have been catastrophic and have endangered the lives and livelihoods of all Americans,” said Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, the committee that nominated him. said while indicating the resolution for removal.

While Republicans have spent enough time arguing that violating immigration laws is the only reason for impeachment, they haven't devoted much time to breaking down how Mayorkas did it.

Much of the GOP argument hinges on language in the law that says immigrants are “detained” while awaiting removal from the country.

It's a standard that's never been met—even when the law was renewed in 1996, the U.S. didn't have enough beds to do so.

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Detaining every immigrant who crosses the border is a logistical impossibility, and neither administration has done so.

For Republicans to make the word “construction” “an absolute mandate that the Secretary of Homeland Security cannot walk away from is a radical departure from the way every presidential administration, including Republican presidential administrations, understands that exact language,” César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, a law professor at Ohio State University, told The Hill. .

“The inescapable paradox is that Congress doesn't have a law to implement the department, so the department's leadership has to decide who to prioritize … Politicians don't agree on exactly who to prioritize, but basically, an administration simply exists. Selecting Follow.

Congress is funding 40,000 detention beds, far fewer than the 150,000 to 200,000 each at Southwest border crossings in the past several months. Those who do not have a legal basis to stay in the country have been removed.

“If they're partially funded, they can only be partially enforced,” Meissner said, adding that legislation is always “subject to some kind of discretion.”

The Biden administration has tried to limit the use of detention, using electronic monitoring and requiring people to appear in court at a later date.

“This is not simply about flagging people into the country. These people are in legal proceedings,” Meissner said.

Although the GOP criticizes such “notices to appear,” they have been used by other administrations before.

“This is the most common way to manage the immigration court docket. The alternative is to detain every person in immigration court proceedings. So far, Congress has been willing to spend billions of dollars a year on detention beds, but far too little to detain 100 percent of the people who have been served with notices to appear in immigration court. Garcia Hernandez said.

“So Secretary Meyergas is overseeing a department that is doing more or less what every previous administration, including Trump's administration, has done.”

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To make their case, the GOP invokes a series of statistics, including unaccompanied minors, border encounters, money spent by cities to address the migrant surge and low rates of asylum cases approved by immigration judges. Mayorgas founded the movement before taking office.

Similarly, the agency relies on DHS data that it has seized fentanyl and prevented people on terror watch lists from entering the country.

The articles accused Mayorkas of “paroling” immigrants, using such programs to admit those who are ineligible under immigration law.

For Republicans, using parole is a way to “roll back” immigration laws.

The Biden administration has used parole programs for people fleeing the war, including Ukrainian and Afghan nationals — a shift well in line with how it was used before. But parole is allowed in Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela — all countries with political strife and controversial leaders.

DHS has argued that they meet parole requirements under the law, admitting immigrants only on a case-by-case basis.

“It's true that parole is being used now at an unprecedented rate. At the same time, it's being used as a way to try to divert the flow so that people have other ways to come to the country than crossing illegally,” Meissner said.

“I don't think using parole is breaking the law. The application of parole attempts to use one of the few policy tools available to the administration. They want the flow to stop.

Garcia-Hernandez agreed that while Republicans don't like the policy, the Biden administration's use of parole is not illegal.

“Parole is a law passed by Congress, and it's flexible. That's what Congress wants,” he said.

Mayorkas, he said, “is doing exactly what Republican and Democratic presidential administrations have done in the past, which is to decide that there are some people who are welcome within the United States and who deserve this special exercise of having flexible parole power. They need to be helped.”

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Although it was not listed as an argument in their articles of impeachment, Republicans have repeatedly accused the Mayorgas of violating court orders.

That claim rested largely on complaints that Mexico did not enroll enough immigrants in the program, a court ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the policy amid a broader lawsuit to overturn the program.

Republicans argue that the Biden administration has not acted in good faith to restore the Trump-era program — despite forcing more than 5,500 immigrants to wait in Mexico for asylum. DHS eventually won the court battle.

Garcia-Hernandez noted that no court has reprimanded the Mayorkas or DHS for failing to comply with a court order.

“I'm not aware of any case where Secretary Mayorkas has been held in contempt of court or for violating a court order, and what happens if the court decides that he is violating a court order or directs his staff. “He is overseeing the violation of the court order,” he said.

Representative. Dan Goldman (DN.Y.) faulted the GOP for pointing to preliminary victories in court — usually blocking new policies and protecting the status quo through litigation — or lower court orders later overturned as evidence of Biden administration losses. Court.

“Secretary Mayorkas has not respected any court order. Not one. Not one,” Goldman said last week while marking up articles.

“He has not violated any court order. You've gone to court to stop him from doing the job, and that's true, there are judges who have entered preliminary injunctions. He has kept the law in every way he was supposed to.

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