Homeland Security Committee Democrats Pull Out of Field Trip to Border, as Republicans Blame Mayorkas Over American Deaths

‘It’s deeply disappointing that the minority members of the Committee have chosen to bail on this week’s full committee field hearing in Texas,’ the committee chairman, Mark Green, said.

AP/Andrew Harnik
The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Representative Mark Green, on Capitol Hill March 8, 2023. AP/Andrew Harnik

As President Biden moves to the right on border security, Democrats on the House Committee on Homeland Security are pulling out of a field hearing at the border in Texas on Wednesday.

According to the committee chairman, Mark Green, the refusal to participate sends a message to the American people that the Democratic members are not willing to discuss the issue.

“It’s deeply disappointing that the minority members of the Committee have chosen to bail on this week’s full committee field hearing in Texas, only after they invited and confirmed a minority witness for one of the panels,” Mr. Green told Fox News.

The hearing in question will happen at South Texas College’s Regional Center for Public Safety Excellence at Pharr, about 50 miles west of where four Americans were kidnapped earlier this month.

The hearing, titled “Failure by Design,” is aimed at making the case that Mr. Biden’s secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas, is intentionally creating insecurity at the border.

Last week, Mr. Green made the case that Mr. Mayorkas and the president are directly responsible for the kidnapping in Mexico earlier this month and the two deaths of Americans that followed.

While House Republicans have backed off from earlier plans to impeach Mr. Mayorkas, they are expected to continue working to pin the issues at the border squarely on Messrs. Mayorkas and Biden at the meeting tomorrow.

The Democratic members of the House Committee on Homeland Security have not issued a statement on why they are not attending Wednesday’s meeting and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The hearing comes as Mr. Biden is seen as having tacked to the right on border issues in recent weeks. Specifically, the president recently instituted a policy that assumes asylum seekers that enter the country illegally are ineligible for asylum. This will make it easier for immigration officials to expel asylum seekers who do not follow the law as another pandemic-era measure, Title 42, is expected to end in May.

Title 42 empowered the government to expel asylum seekers from certain countries on grounds that their migration presented a risk to public health.

The administration is also reportedly considering once again detaining families of migrants at the border, a Trump-era policy that ended early in Mr. Biden’s administration.

Other potential policies have been brought to the attention of the homeland security department as well, including a proposal from the League of United Latin American Citizens to implement a pause of between three and six months on accepting new asylum applications.

Mr. Mayorkas told CNN last week that he would keep “all options on the table” in his efforts to manage the situation at the southern border.

“Let us discuss them, and many will be left on the cutting room floor,” Mr. Mayorkas said. “But the best ideas blossom from open and candid dialogue and really just a robust discussion of alternatives.”

The hearing Wednesday will be the latest in a series of meetings that House Republicans have had at the border in an attempt to draw attention to the issue.

As it stands, however, there are no markups of votes scheduled on any of the 33 immigration- and border-related bills that have been introduced to the Republican-controlled House.

The most high-profile of these bills, the Border Safety and Security Act of 2023, has been awaiting consideration by the Homeland Security Committee since early January.

Mr. Biden’s new budget, on the other hand, would allocate resources to hire 350 more border patrol agents and invest an additional $535 million in border security, including some $40 million aimed at combating fentanyl trafficking. 

The New York Sun

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