House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Border Policies!

In the first of several hearings on immigration since regaining control of the House, Republican legislators criticized President Joe Biden’s border policy on Wednesday. They laid the framework for an impeachment case against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Republicans have consistently criticized the administration’s management of the US-Mexico border, where an inflow of migrants has taxed federal resources, throughout Biden’s presidency.

Critics contend that while adopting many of the same procedures as the Trump administration, particularly a Covid-era border limitation, the historically high number of arrests proves Biden’s methods are ineffective.

Republicans intend to bring up these criticisms in congressional hearings and capitalize on a topic that has been a political weakness for the president now that they control the House and hold leadership positions on essential committees, starting with the hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Border Policies
House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Border Policies

At the beginning of the committee’s first hearing this Congress, Jim Jordan, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, criticized Biden’s border policies, making clear the Republican’s intention to emphasize what the GOP has described as a crisis on the US-Mexico border throughout the more than three-hour hearing.

Jordan opened the hearing by citing several statistics, including the record number of migrant encounters at the border and the number of people designated as being on the terror watchlist, to show that the administration’s border policies had failed.

In the fiscal year 2022, US Customs and Border Protection reported encountering migrants more than 2.3 million times along the US-Mexico border. Over 1 million immigrants were turned away at the border.

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“These numbers make clear that the Biden administration does not have operational control of the border,” according to Jordan. “Month after month after month, we have set records for migrants coming into the country and frankly, I think it’s intentional.”

Two topics that came up at Wednesday’s session and have been mentioned as grounds for impeaching the DHS secretary are that Mayorkas’ assertions of having operational control of the border are baseless and that the record arrests indicate a dereliction of duty.

The impeachment resolution would fall under the purview of the House Judiciary Committee. The committee’s senior Democrat, New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, criticized Republicans for their tactics because he didn’t like how the hearing was conducted.

“I wish this hearing was starting on a different note. This hearing is more of the same, haphazard chaotic style we have come to expect of this new Republican majority,” He continued, “The first hearing will showcase the racist tendencies of the extreme MAGA Republican wing of the party,”

Democrats seized on GOP conference differences over border strategy throughout the session. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Democrat from Georgia, described it as “nothing more than a distraction.”

The committee billed the first Wednesday hearings to examine “border security, national security, and how fentanyl has impacted American lives.” Still, it also gave GOP members a chance to voice their displeasure with the administration’s immigration policies.

Sheriff Mark Dannels of Cochise County, Arizona, Judge Ricardo Samaniego of El Paso County, Texas, and Brandon Dunn, co-founder of the Forever 15 Project, which aims to increase public awareness of fentanyl, all gave testimony before the panel.

Numerous committees will hold hearings on the situation at the US-Mexico border, including the House Judiciary Committee. Additionally, the House Oversight Committee wants to hold a hearing on the subject and has already argued with the agency about the witnesses it would call.

James Comer, the Kentucky Republican who chairs the House Oversight Committee, charged that DHS had “refused to permit” four chief patrol agents to speak at an impending Oversight hearing to which Comer had invited them the week of February 6.

But according to a letter from DHS to Comer obtained by CNN, citing its evaluation of who should testify, DHS offered US Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, who is in charge of the four agents Comer requested, to testify before the House Oversight Committee and said it would make sector chiefs available for a member-level briefing.

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