COLUMBIA - U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn is convinced President Barack Obama's impeachment is imminent if Republicans maintain control of the House of Representatives.
The Democratic congressman, who represents the 6th Congressional District and is seeking re-election this fall, held a roundtable discussion in Columbia, where he shared updates on what's going on in the nation's capital. He talked about the surge of undocumented children crossing into the United States, the lawsuit against Obama, and South Carolina's Department of Social Services.
"More and more people are admitting that this lawsuit is a precursor to impeachment," Clyburn said. "If the Republicans maintain control of the House, Barack Obama will be impeached. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think so."
Clyburn said his 22 years in office have taught him much about the state and nation's history. And some, he said, would love for future generations to open a history book that discusses how Obama was the first black president, but was also an impeached president. Clyburn warned that only 218 votes are needed to impeach a president.
There's certainly a concern of impeachment, but it seems unlikely if Democrats maintain control of the Senate, said Kendra Stewart, political science professor at the College of Charleston. If Democrats remain as the majority in the Senate, House members would be less inclined to bring forth charges, she said.
"I think right now the president's impeachment is more of a campaign issue than anything else," Stewart said. "At this time I don't think the Republicans have enough to move forward legitimately. I think this is still unfolding."
Clyburn also discussed immigration reform, the surge of undocumented immigrants crossing the border and the 350 unaccompanied minors placed in the homes of sponsors in South Carolina. Clyburn said comprehensive immigration reform he would support is not likely because tea party Republicans are pushing a reform to the system that is punitive and draconian.
As for the children housed in South Carolina, he underscored the need to call them refugees and not "unaccompanied minors." He said he hopes lawmakers do not allow children to be sent back without due process. Clyburn added he's in favor of taking a closer look at the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, which may have loopholes that are being used to encourage more children to cross the border.
"Many of these children are in search of family members, relatives, and we ought to treat them like children," Clyburn said. "And I've got a real problem with people who put dollars as obstructions to human rights."
Clyburn also talked about the need to expand Medicaid in South Carolina, and noted the majority of South Carolinians who depend on Medicaid cannot work, even if jobs were available. More than half of the state's Medicaid recipients are children.
Also closer to home, he lamented the loss of 200 jobs in Horry County, the 600 jobs in jeopardy at the center of an Alcoa-Santee Cooper negotiation, and other jobs lost around the state. No press conferences or announcements are held when jobs are lost because no one wants to take credit for that, Clyburn said, taking a jab at Gov. Nikki Haley, whose re-election campaign touts her as the "jobs governor."
Haley's campaign released an ad this week highlighting 20,000 people being moved from welfare to work during her tenure.
He also talked about how children have died under the care of the Department of Social Services, because of "draconian" policies. Haley and DSS are the target of a Democratic Governors Association TV ad titled "Interview." The ad's goal is to highlight how children were left in dangerous and at times, deadly situations, according to the DGA.
A request for comment by the governor's office was not returned.
Staff writer Lauren Sausser contributed to this story. Reach Cynthia Roldan at 708-5891.