Republican Majority Moves Quickly to Probe US Border Policies Under President Biden

Four US Border Patrol officials will participate in the hearing as witnesses, according to James Comer, a Kentucky Republican

Members of the US National Guard at the US and Mexico border in El Paso, Texas.
January 19, 2023 | 02:31 PM

Bloomberg — Empowered by their new US House majority, Republicans are acting swiftly to hold hearings in February and obtain documents on what they describe as a crisis at the US-Mexico border under the policies of President Joe Biden and his Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Oversight and Accountability Committee Chair James Comer said Thursday that his public hearing the week of Feb. 6 would “hold the Biden administration accountable for this ongoing humanitarian, national security and public health crisis that has turned every town into a border town.”

Four US Border Patrol officials will participate in the hearing as witnesses, according to Comer, a Kentucky Republican.

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“The United States’ immigration system should be ‘safe, orderly, and humane.’ It is not,” Comer told Mayorkas in a letter Thursday.

The administration has responded to the criticism by saying it’s working to address root causes of migration to the US and requires time to implement policies that pair strict enforcement measures with new pathways for some immigrants to enter the country legally.

DHS will respond to members of Congress “through official channels,” department spokeswoman spokeswoman Marsha Espinosa said by email.

More hearings are to come as GOP lawmakers single out one of the administration’s biggest vulnerabilities. The Department of Homeland Security has struggled to handle record numbers of migrants at the southern border since Biden became president, and some Republicans have even threatened to try to impeach Mayorkas.

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The Judiciary Committee plans to hold its own border security hearing in late January or early February. Tennessee Republican Mark Green, newly chosen to lead the Homeland Security Committee, said last week that he expects Mayorkas to appear soon before his panel. Green added that he plans to hire aides stationed at the border to keep lawmakers apprised of the situation there.

Comer also demanded Thursday that Mayorkas turn over details of strategies to thwart illegal border crossings, lower risks of terrorist entries, and bolster seizures of fentanyl and other drugs.

“The committee requests documents and information to understand DHS’s policies, the costs of the emergency measures needed to respond to the worsening crisis, and the national security risks created by these policies,”  wrote Comer, who instructed Mayorkas to provide these documents by Feb. 2.

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