On November 9, 2023, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) filed a privileged resolution to impeach DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that relies on language associated with the great replacement conspiracy theory. In her remarks on the House floor for the introduction of this resolution, Rep. Greene frequently used dangerous invasion rhetoric. Her resolution makes the same “invasion” conspiracy claim. We have seen at least 17 of her Republican colleagues previously engaging in such deadly racist rhetoric, including Speaker of the House Mike Johnson over a years-long project to push this sham impeachment effort.
White supremacist conspiracy theories about non-white migrants replacing white people and precipitating the downfall of the nation have percolated for over a century. Its modern incarnation, the “great replacement theory,” which had previously been confined to the dark corners of American politics, but in the last few years, politicians and pundits have ushered this deadly, racist fiction into the mainstream. They falsely and absurdly assert that non-white migrants and asylum seekers constitute a literal “invasion,” claiming they are part of an intentional plot to “replace” the population and culture of the United States with allegedly pliant non-white immigrants. Most Americans first learned about this racist, anti-semitic lie when they saw videos of white nationalists chanting “Jews will not replace us” and “you will not replace us” during the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August of 2017. Since then, far too many political leaders have come to adopt those bigoted ideas as their own, particularly when it comes to new immigration and descriptions of the southern border.
To be clear, when elected officials employ this rhetoric, they are echoing the false conspiracy theories of deadly domestic terrorists and are actively fueling an ongoing threat to public safety. This nativist narrative is as dangerous as it is false.
This invasion and replacement conspiracy has repeatedly been the motivating inspiration for acts of political violence and domestic terrorism. It was chanted in the streets of Charlottesville in 2017, posted online before a man murdered 11 in Pittsburgh in 2018, shared in racist screeds before the murder in Poway and the murder of 23 in El Paso in 2019, believed by those who attacked the Capitol in 2021, and copied by the gunman who killed ten people in Buffalo in May of 2022.
Dr. Heidi Beirich, Co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, draws a direct connection between the rhetoric and the violence. “When migrants are described as invaders, that leads to violence,” she said, “Because how else does one stop an invasion?”
In May 2023, testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee, Jewish Council for Public Affairs CEO, Amy Spitalnick said when “elected officials, pundits, candidates, others who have normalized and mainstreamed the white supremacist views like the Great Replacement theory, talking about things like an invasion… what that does is then give license to the violent extremists…”
When asked in July 2023, DHS Secretary Mayorkas confirmed in testimony before Congress that when Members of Congress use great replacement conspiracy theory language like describing migrants as an “invasion,” it “fuels the threat landscape we encounter”.
Amidst the step increase in antisemitic incidents and Mayorkas himself is an immigrant and the son of Holocaust survivors, this move by Rep. Greene is compoundingly egregious.
As others have argued in an attempt to turn this conspiracy into policy Rep. Greene’s resolution attempts to hide behind the Constitution, citing Article 4 Section 4, which states can act to defend against an “invasion.” George Mason University, Law Professor Ilya Somin refutes this absurd legal argument in biting detail, here and here. This is not a novel argument, multiple states were laughed out of court in the 90’s trying to claim the same war powers against migrants under this invasion clause. At the time, the 2nd Circuit court of appeals clearly defined the section, writing: “In order for the state to be afforded the protection of the Invasion Clause, it must be exposed to armed hostility from another political entity, such as another state or foreign country that is intending to overthrow the state’s government.” Desperate families fleeing for their lives seeking legal entry through the asylum system do not remotely rise to that definition, which exposes this defense strategy as the crackpot white nationalism it truly is.
It is critical to remember that dog-whistles for the great replacement conspiracy theory still advance the racist fiction. Politicians and pundits don’t often use the most explicitly antisemitic and racist versions of the great replacement conspiracy theory but use coded language to arrive at the same destination. As an excellent resource from Human Rights First explains: “Dog whistles for this conspiracy include ‘voter replacement’ or statements claiming increases in border crossings are ‘intentional.’”
Rep. Greene’s effort is not entirely novel, with some Members of Congress pushing this effort practically since he was sworn in but privileged resolution will force votes on the issue for the first time.
Here are some of the past remarks of GOP members using the dangerous white nationalist “invasion” and “replacement” conspiracy theories while supporting Secretary Mayorkas’ impeachment:
- Speaker Mike Johnson – 3/29/23 – Twitter: “Mayorkas LIED repeatedly to the Senate Judiciary Comm yesterday. I called for his impeachment last year & summarized here why his INTENTIONAL acts will destroy our country if he isn’t stopped. Dems continue to protect & empower this carnage. God help us. https://t.co/eICWoUmmmY”
- Brian Babin (R-TX) – 7/22/22 – Fox News op-ed: “Secretary Mayorkas has unquestionably violated his oath of office. He has intentionally invited millions to cross into Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California, violating Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution, which requires the federal government to “protect each of [the states] against invasion.”
- Jim Banks (R-IN) – 7/22/22 – Fox News op-ed: “Secretary Mayorkas has unquestionably violated his oath of office. He has intentionally invited millions to cross into Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California, violating Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution, which requires the federal government to “protect each of [the states] against invasion.”
- Clay Higgins (R-LA) – 6/6/23 – H.Res 470: “Impeaching Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas…Secretary Mayorkas’ actions and inactions, in his capacity as an executive officer of the United States, have caused a loss of any sane or objective assessment of “operational control” of the United States-Mexico border, resulting in the most significant border invasion in our Nation’s history concerning persons and illicit drugs.”
- Andy Biggs (R-AZ) – 9/25/23 – Twitter: “🚨More than 232,000 illegal border crossings in August, a new record. This is an INVASION. We must IMPEACH Joe Biden and Secretary Mayorkas for purposely ignoring our border security and immigration laws. Without borders, we don’t have a country! https://t.co/6MvVL39cOj”
- Ben Cline (R-VA) – 9/28/23 – Twitter: “Americans are witnessing an invasion at our borders every day because DHS Secretary Mayorkas has willfully IGNORED his duty to protect the homeland & uphold the rule of law. As I continue working for his impeachment, tonight I joined with @HouseGOP to hold him accountable by… https://t.co/oyLql8H9hq”
- Bob Good (R-VA) – 8/11/23 – Twitter: “Only 23% of Americans say that Biden and Mayorkas are doing a good job handling the border invasion. If you had a 23% on your performance review, you’d be fired. It’s time we do the same to Biden and Mayorkas. https://t.co/n6OMtv7vE2”. 7/26/23 – Twitter: “Strong nations have secure borders. Instead of prioritizing our national security, Sec. Mayorkas has facilitated an invasion. He must be impeached. https://t.co/xdCPSfZg31
- Chip Roy (R-TX) – 11/01/23 – Twitter: “Mayorkas is allowing endless numbers of military-aged males from across the globe, many from terror-prone countries, to enter the U.S. and find residence in different corners of the country. Stop the intentional chaos. #ImpeachMayorkas #HR2 https://t.co/FYo6lJeN4f”. 8/4/23 – Twitter: “For context, 1.1k crossings is close to the entire population of La Grulla (1.2k+) in a 24 hour period Migrants are dying, resources and morale are depleted, cartels make $ Impeach Mayorkas #NoFunding https://t.co/rvk2MoZX2q
- Claudia Tenney (R-NY) – 4/20/23 – Twitter: “191,899 illegal immigrants were caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in March alone, which doesn’t even count the gotaways. This is larger than the populations of every county in #NY24. Secretary Mayorkas should be impeached for his failure to secure our border!”
- Cory Mills (R-FL) – 9/17/23 – Twitter: “This must be stopped immediately. The @SenateDems must take up @GOPHouseOfRep passed H.R. 2, impeach @SecMayorkas for allowing our country to be invaded and American lives lost, and stop ALL funding to these nations who allow our borders to be overrun. Call your Senators and… https://t.co/ebzG1cRRt1 https://t.co/UwJv8aM45v”
- Diana Harshbergar (TN-01) – 9/25/23 – Twitter: “It can’t be denied – Joe Biden’s and DHS Secretary Mayorkas’ far left policies are to blame for the crisis at our southern border. It’s time to impeach Mayorkas and end this invasion. https://t.co/X1i41IAXkC” 9/26/23 – Twitter: “Under Secretary Mayorkas’ failed leadership, our country is being invaded by millions of illegal aliens and our communities are being flooded with poisonous drugs. Border security is national security – Mayorkas must be impeached! https://t.co/W9v8tCddfX”
- Eli Crane (AZ-02) 9/22/23 – Twitter: “Back in January, the Biden White House announced their “intent to propose” new regulation to discourage illegal crossings. Instead, they opened the flood gates on our southern border & facilitated an invasion. There’s absolutely no excuse not to impeach Mayorkas. https://t.co/qW0aWV60Af https://t.co/IFqIltET5h”
- Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02) – 9/21/23 – Twitter: “This is insanity. What will it take for this administration to put an end to this invasion? Secretary Mayorkas has failed at his job and deserves to be impeached. https://t.co/4qFz2VlatL”. 7/25/23 – Twitter: “Secretary Mayorkas has not upheld our Constitution. He has intentionally disregarded the rule of law. He has made Americans less safe. He deserves to be impeached. https://t.co/w6yNKgl9J6” 9/21/23 – Twitter: “Congress should be focused on securing America’s border. We are being invaded! I will not vote for any funding bill that sends one penny to Ukraine. When will we finally #ImpeachMayorkas for not just failing to do his job but inviting the invasion of our country?? https://t.co/np5OrNNvXr” 9/20/23 – Twitter: “So Mayorkas is hiring intelligence members who lied to the American people to run the invasion of our country and lie about it. All of their security clearances should be revoked, and they should be banned from ever working in the federal government again. Holman rule!!! https://t.co/AIIIvTy7Hz” 9/18/23 – Twitter: “We have to impeach Mayorkas. It’s unacceptable that we haven’t done it. Our national security is at very high risk. At these numbers of illegal invasion that’s an entire BRIGADE illegally invading!!! https://t.co/HbDEff1SDu https://t.co/E7s3Vqz2um”
- Matt Gaetz (R-FL) – 3/1/23 – Twitter: “Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas deserves impeachment. He is purposefully jeopardizing American Sovereignty. The fact that we have an open border isn’t a bug of the system. It’s a feature. https://t.co/i6FgFPb4kO”
- Nick Langworthy (R-NY) – 6/2/23 – Twitter: “Secretary Mayorkas is INTENTIONALLY neglecting his duty to secure our southern border. Congress has to do our duty to hold him accountable and IMPEACH him.”
- Troy Nehls (R-TX) – 7/26/23 – Twitter: Secretary Mayorkas is responsible for the invasion at our southern border. The impeachment articles have been filed, and my colleagues need to get on board. https://t.co/GCVTegT6rH
- Warren Davidson (R-OH) – 9/20/23 – Twitter: “Failure to repel an invasion is treason. #ImpeachBiden #ImpeachMayorkas https://t.co/Jzt6y0qZMZ”
- Mike Rogers (R-AL) – 11/14/23 – Twitter: “While our nation is being invaded by terrorists, criminals, and drug dealers, Mayorkas claims there is no crisis at the border. Mayorkas is derelict in his duty as Secretary of Homeland Security and should be impeached immediately.”
- Eric Burlison (R-MO) – 11/14/23 – Twitter: “@SecMayorkas has facilitated an invasion of our nation by refusing to secure the southern border. He should be removed from office immediately. Despite some of my colleagues killing our efforts to hold him accountable last night, I’m hopeful justice will be served, and Mayorkas will be removed from office.”
- Ted Cruz (R-TX) – 10/31/23 – Twitter: “Alejandro Mayorkas deserves to be impeached for facilitating: -the invasion of the United States by 7.9 million people. -the deaths of over 700 illegal aliens last year. -the rape and sexual abuse of thousands of women and children.” 10/4/23 – Twitter: “I’ve been arguing for over a year that House Republicans should be more aggressive than they have been. The top two items on the agenda list of the next Speaker of the House should be: 1. Impeach Alejandro Mayorkas. The invasion at our southern border is a national disgrace,… https://t.co/po4ZChrFQQ” 9/20/23 – Twitter: “This month is projected to be the highest month of illegal immigration ever recorded. Joe Biden has not stopped the invasion at our southern border because he wants it to occur. Kamala Harris, Alejandro Mayorkas, every Democrat Senator, and every Democrat Congressman are… https://t.co/QlwsVkMkzk”
- More from Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) – 11/9/23: Twitter: “Americans are being killed every single day because of the invasion at our southern border. Joe Biden and his administration are responsible. It’s time to hold them accountable and IMPEACH Mayorkas.” 11/9/23 – Twitter: “Too many Americans have been killed due to Biden’s border invasion. We need action. Congress needs to IMPEACH Mayorkas!” 10/9/23 – Twitter: “CLOSE THE BORDER! IMPEACH BIDEN! IMPEACH MAYORKAS! Our government is using our tax dollars to allow our country to be invaded! Here comes your new neighbors, this group from Syria. https://t.co/LIjtOMYeHA” 9/28/23 – Twitter: “I’m excited to let you know I just passed a second Holman rule amendment tonight, this time to FIRE Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. Our border is being invaded and 300 Americans are dying every single day from the fentanyl being brought across our border.… https://t.co/wMZmgDW9Q3 https://t.co/LzvDobwGiQ”