Lodi News-Sentinel

Republican delegation to visit southern U.S. border

- Tatyana Monnay

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.

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