Republicans call for hearing on border surge
House Republicans are calling on Democrats to hold a hearing on the influx of migrants at the southern border, arguing the surge could pose risks to national security.
The push by GOP members of the House Judiciary Committee comes as Republicans hammer Democrats over the rising number of migrants and warn of increased criminal activity.
“The subcommittee should hear directly from officials from the Department of State, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security about what the Biden Administration is doing to address the criminal activity caused by the Biden Administration’s radical policies,” Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote in a letter to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) who leads Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.
Committee Democrats did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Apprehensions at the southern border exceeded 100,000 in February, a 28 percent increase from the previous month, according to U.S. Border Patrol.
Most of those migrants have been expelled under a policy that originated during the Trump era that allows swift deportation due to COVID-19.
The White House has made repeated pleas for would-be migrants to ignore false information that the border is now open under President Biden.
“It is not safe to take the journey, it is not safe in a time of pandemic to arrive at the border. Families and single adults are being expelled. Let us build, let us rebuild if I may, a safe, orderly way for you to apply for humanitarian relief under the laws of our country. That is who we are,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Thursday morning on CBS News.
The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday said the U.S. is “on pace to encounter more individuals on the Southwest border than we have in the last 20 years.”
Republicans contend that the swelling figures could have an impact on the ability of Customs and Border Protection to maintain its law enforcement responsibilities, including responding to drug trafficking.
“Because of the Biden Administration’s immigration policies that have caused a surge of alien encounters along the U.S. southern border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) now has to divert its resources away from its priority missions and law enforcement duties to secure the border and instead process illegal aliens,” the two House GOP lawmakers wrote in their letter, which was signed by eight other Republican subcommittee members.
The hearing request comes a day after Mayorkas testified before the House Homeland Security Committee, where Republicans repeatedly pressured him to call the situation at the border a crisis.
While Republicans blame Biden for the situation at the border, administration officials have pointed the finger at their predecessors, arguing former President Trump created pent-up demand at the border by working to limit migration for four years.
“We can’t just undo four years of the previous administration’s actions overnight. Those actions didn’t just neglect our immigration system; they intentionally made it worse. When you add a pandemic to that, it’s clear it will take significant time to overcome,” Roberta Jacobson, Biden’s southern border czar, said at a White House press briefing earlier this month.