The House Oversight Committee will hold hearings on the Biden administration’s border policy in early February, in what is expected to be a series of hearings on the issue amid widespread criticism from Republicans.
Republican Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, the current committee chairman, has been sharply critical of the Biden administration’s handling of the U.S.-Mexico border. The hearing will be held the week of February 6th.
In a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorcas obtained by CNN, Comer requested documents and information on the department’s policies, the cost of responding to the influx of migrants at the border and potential national security risks.
“The American people and their elected representatives must understand the Department of Homeland Security’s role in the humanitarian and national security crisis at America’s southern border,” the letter reads.
Documents requested on Feb. 2 include: communications regarding how many people were released from DHS custody into the U.S. illegally crossing the border on or after Jan. 20, 2021; letters regarding any plans to secure the border; Communications related to the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy, among other requests.
Republicans have repeatedly blasted the administration’s handling of the U.S.-Mexico border, arguing the historic arrest numbers prove President Joe Biden’s policies aren’t working. But the administration has largely used the same protocols as the Trump administration and continues to rely on coronavirus-era border restrictions that allow border authorities to turn away migrants encountered at the U.S. southern border.
However, the government is facing unprecedented flows across the Western Hemisphere, which has led to an influx of migrants across the border, including more people from countries as diverse as Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. The U.S. is largely barred from deporting immigrants to Cuba and Venezuela, presenting a unique set of challenges for DHS.
The committee invited top Border Patrol officials who oversee certain areas of the border, including the Del Rio region and the Rio Grande Valley, to testify.