Republican delegation to visit southern U.S. border
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will travel this week to the U.S. southern border with freshmen GOP lawmakers as Republicans continue to hammer the Biden administration on immigration and security.
The trip to the southern border marks McCarthy’s first as speaker and follows growing GOP calls for the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, for whom Republicans have blamed for the administration’s border policies and the increasing number of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
McCarthy hasn’t ruled out impeachment and has previously threatened an investigation into Mayorkas to determine whether an impeachment inquiry should be opened.
Representatives Juan Ciscomani of Arizona, Lori Chavez-DeRemer of Oregon, Jen Kiggans of Virginia and Derrick Van Orden of Wisconsin will join McCarthy in the Tucson area for a briefing from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Border security is receiving heightened scrutiny from the new House Republican majority. Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio said at a hearing earlier this month that President Joe Biden does not have operational control of the border and sees it as an intentional move from the administration.
Democratic Representative Raul Grijalva, whose Arizona district includes parts of Tucson and 300 miles of the US..-Mexico border, told Bloomberg News he was not invited to the visit but would not accept an invite even if he were offered one.
“This visit by McCarthy is totally performative,” said Grijalva. “Are you serious about solutions or will you keep doing political theater for 2024? I think it’s the latter.”
In a statement, White House Assistant Press Secretary Abdullah Hasan said: “House Republicans can see first-hand how unlawful border crossings have sharply declined thanks to President Biden’s new border plan.”
“They can also see the additional progress that could be made if Republicans in Congress stop making this issue a political stunt and actually join the President in advancing real solutions – like comprehensive immigration reform,” Hasan added.
This isn’t the first congressional southwest border trip this year. Senators Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and John Cornyn of Texas led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to review border security in Arizona and Texas in January. And shortly after the November midterm elections, McCarthy and other House Republicans toured the border at El Paso, Texas.
“The combination of an unsecure border, an overworked and under-resourced Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection force, and never-before seen levels of illegal immigration, asylum seekers, and coordinated smuggling efforts have completely ruined an already broken system,” Sinema, who chairs the subcommittee on government operations and border management, said in a statement last month.