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 JordanSix memorable moments from Ex-Ukraine ambassador Yovanovitch's public testimony Democrats say Trump tweet is 'witness intimidation,' fuels impeachment push Live coverage: Ex-Ukraine ambassador testifies in public impeachment hearing MORE (R-Ohio), the ranking member on the panel, sent a letter to Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsThe Hill's Morning Report — Public impeachment drama resumes today Maloney primary challenger calls on her to return, donate previous campaign donations from Trump Second person heard call suggesting Trump cared more about 'investigations' than Ukraine: AP 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.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 EscobarRep. Veronica Escobar elected to represent freshman class in House leadership Brindisi, Lamb recommended for Armed Services, Transportation Committees House Democrats target Latino vote in Texas 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

"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.