After reports that Democrats had been involved in “coaching” migrants om how to exploit U.S. immigration law, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee are looking for answers.
Republicans are putting pressure on their Democratic counterparts to provide more details about the series of trips taken to Mexico while staffers were touring border detention facilities from which the coaching reports are stemming.
In a letter to Chairman Elijah Cummings ranking member Jim Jordan said there were at least two committee staff trips into Mexico in August — one of which required Border Patrol agents to provide a special escort back into the U.S.
Cummings’ office initially stated that the staffers were simply following their GPS and “got lost” causing them to travel over the border. Jordan , however, thinks otherwise.
“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, adding that Republicans were not notified of the trips.
Jordan went on to accuse Democrats of seeking “to delegitimize the administration’s border security efforts and vilify the men and women who protect our border.” He said GOP members are concerned the trips “could continue to result in misleading information about the administration’s border security efforts.”
Specifically, Jordan highlighted a report that said the Democratic Rep. from Texas, Veronica Escobar, was in attendance on one trip to Tijuana on Aug. 21.
According to The Washington Examiner, staff from Escobar’s office recently coached migrants in Ciudad Juarez on how to exploit federal immigration law even going as far as telling would-be border crossers to pretend they cannot speak Spanish to exploit a loophole that would let them enter the U.S.
Escobar responded by claiming the article was “fabricated” and “fueled by xenophobia and misinformation.”
“This hit piece is fueled by xenophobia and misinformation. But guess what, guys? These attacks won’t deter me doing my job, upholding my oath, and pushing for accountability.”
In the letter, Jordan asked Democrats a number of questions including what the purpose of the visit was, which individuals and groups they interacted with, why Escobar’s office was invited, and what “coaching” on immigration laws, if any, was given to migrants.
The letter is only latest installment on a long list of controversial incidents over Democrats’ trips to the border.
Last month that the Department of Homeland Security barred staffers from the committee from visiting Customs and Border Protection facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border during a trip after staff were allegedly disruptive and refused to follow instructions.
The DHS revoked access to CBP facilities for one visit, citing staff behavior that “interfered” with law enforcement operations — including refusing to leave one site after their scheduled window, skipping some tours and being “rude” to officers.
Democrats attempted to cover up their child-like and borderline illegal acts by claiming instead the visit was nixed due to concerns about what staff were learning from detainees about conditions on the ground. Cummings later wrote that his staff was blocked “after previous staff inspections revealed potentially serious ongoing problems with the treatment of children and adults in DHS custody.”