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 JordanDemocrats say Trump ceded right to block Bolton when he attacked him Bolton upends Trump impeachment trial  Government privacy watchdog under pressure to recommend facial recognition ban MORE (R-Ohio), the ranking member on the panel, sent a letter to Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsBaltimore unveils plaques for courthouse to be named after Elijah Cummings GOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts Pelosi taps Virginia Democrat for key post on economic panel 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 EscobarThe Hill's Morning Report - Bolton charge ups ante in witness showdown The Hill's Morning Report - Report of Bolton tell-all manuscript roils Trump defense Veronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address 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.