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 JordanMeadows to be replaced by Biggs as Freedom Caucus leader House Republicans want details on Democrats' trips to Mexico GOP lawmakers, states back gunmaker in Sandy Hook appeal MORE (R-Ohio), the ranking member on the panel, sent a letter to Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsPence extends olive branch to Cummings after Trump's Baltimore attacks Infrastructure needed to treat addiction as chronic disease doesn't exist GOP retreat creates WiFi password blasting socialism 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.” 

“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 EscobarHouse holds moment of silence for El Paso victims House Republicans want details on Democrats' trips to Mexico House to vote on stopgap spending measure to prevent shutdown 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.

"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.