House Republicans want details on Democrats' trips to Mexico

House Republicans want details on Democrats' trips to Mexico
© Greg Nash

Republican members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee are requesting more information on Democratic members' authorized trips to Mexico during border detention tours.

Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanHouse panel pulls Powell into partisan battles over pandemic Sunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election House passes resolution condemning anti-Asian discrimination relating to coronavirus MORE (R-Ohio), the ranking member on the panel, sent a letter to Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsBlack GOP candidate accuses Behar of wearing black face in heated interview Overnight Health Care: US won't join global coronavirus vaccine initiative | Federal panel lays out initial priorities for COVID-19 vaccine distribution | NIH panel: 'Insufficient data' to show treatment touted by Trump works House Oversight Democrats to subpoena AbbVie in drug pricing probe MORE (D-Md.) asking for more details on at least two committee staff trips to Mexico in August, 

The Ohio representative said in the letter obtained by The Hill that Republican members were not informed of the trips and that he was concerned Democrats were aiming “to delegitimize the administration’s border security efforts and vilify the men and women who protect our border.” 

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“Although you have the authority to direct Committee staff to travel internationally on official committee business, you have not explained why you authorized this travel into Mexico or what you sought to learn through these trips,” Jordan wrote.

Jordan also referenced a report that mentioned Rep. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarHispanic caucus report takes stock of accomplishments with eye toward 2021 Races heat up for House leadership posts Ahead of a coronavirus vaccine, Mexico's drug pricing to have far-reaching impacts on Americans MORE's (D-Texas) attendance during an Aug. 21 trip to the country, Fox News reported. Escobar is not a member of the Oversight and Reform Committee. 

The representative presented a line of questions for the Democratic members, including why they visited Mexico, with whom they connected, why Escobar attended, whether any "coaching" was provided to migrants and what this coaching included, Fox News reported.

Jordan also asked for itineraries of the trips, according to the Washington Examiner.

Cummings returned a letter Monday obtained by The Hill that said his staff did inform and invite Jordan's staff of the trip five days prior.

"My staff informed your staff — before the trip — that the purpose was to see firsthand the shelters currently housing immigrants who are being blocked from entering the United States to request asylum under our laws," the letter said.

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"What our staff found there was alarming: the Trump Administration has effectively sealed off the border in El Paso from legal asylum-seekers leaving thousands of people stranded in Mexico," the letter added.

The Hill reached out to Escobar for comment.

In July, the Washington Examiner reported Escobar's staff had coached migrants on how to reenter the United States. Escobar has repeatedly countered this report, saying it was "fabricated." 

Updated: 6:20 p.m.