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Jim Jordan subpoenas Alejandro Mayorkas over TX razor wire, migrant influx

By Mandy Donalds
|
March 1, 2024

House Judiciary chairman Jim Jordan (OH-04) has issued a subpoena to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, demanding documents concerning the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) response to a significant migrant influx in Eagle Pass, Texas this past September.

Jordan accuses DHS of withholding information vital to the committee's investigation into the time period at issue.

During September, the sector saw an unprecedented surge of migrants, primarily from Venezuela, leading to the temporary closure of two critical bridges as Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials were overwhelmed, as Fox News reported.

Criticism of Administration's Handling of Crisis

Republicans on the committee have repeatedly criticized the administration's management of the border situation.

Jordan specifically pointed out the removal of concertina wire and fencing by DHS, which was initially put in place by the Texas state government as a deterrent.

He accused the Biden administration of facilitating illegal crossings and prioritizing migrants over American citizens.

Despite multiple requests for documentation dating back to November, DHS's responses have been deemed insufficient by the committee, leading to the issuance of the subpoena.

Jordan's statements highlight a broader criticism of what he perceives as the administration's open-border policies.

The lawmaker emphasized the detrimental effects on American communities and impediments to the committee's constitutional oversight responsibilities.

The subpoena seeks documents related to migrant transport, bridge closures, policy decisions, the cutting of razor wire, intelligence reports, and data on migrant encounters at the border and gives a deadline of March 19.

DHS's Response and Ongoing Cooperation

A DHS official, in response to the subpoena, cited ongoing litigation as a reason for withholding certain documents but assured that information not restricted by legal constraints has been provided.

The official further referenced proactive measures taken, such as briefing on Eagle Pass, engagement with the congressional delegation, and providing materials and data, including sector-level data.

Additionally, the official highlighted that DHS has furnished over 75 witnesses for over 50 hearings, engaged 20 personnel in transcribed interviews, and submitted over 20,000 documents in response to lawmakers' inquiries.

Despite the subpoena being labeled as a media-seeking ploy by a DHS spokesperson, the department has expressed its continued commitment to cooperating with congressional oversight, emphasizing its role in protecting national security, securing borders, and responding to emergencies.

Presidential Visit to the Border

The timing of the subpoena coincides closely with President Joe Biden's scheduled Thursday visit to Brownsville, Texas, alongside Secretary Mayorkas.

This visit aims to highlight the administration's border security efforts and urge Congressional Republicans to pass a bipartisan Senate border security bill.

The president plans to receive briefings on border security operations and stress the importance of bipartisan cooperation for effective border management in his remarks.