House Republicans Ask for Meeting With Harris Over Border 'Catasrophe' Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) speaks during a press conference following a House Republican caucus meeting on Capitol Hill on April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
By Newsmax Staff | Monday, 19 April 2021 01:59 PM
Three House Republicans on Monday fired off a letter to Vice President Kamala Harris requesting a meeting to talk about how the administration will end an "unprecedented border catastrophe," and calling her out for leaving officials and migrants stranded.
In the terse two-page missive, Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, John Katko of New York, and James Comer of Kentucky — the ranking members, respectively, of the Judiciary, Homeland Security and Oversight committees — outlined the results of their visit to the border last week.
"We talked to Border Patrol agents, state and local law enforcement officials, landowners, and others who begged for help to stop the flow of aliens," they wrote. "Each person we talked to said they had not heard from you or received any direction or plan from you to help their situation."
President Joe Biden has tapped Harris to lead the effort to stem the surge of migration at the southern border, including establishing a partnership with Mexico and the northern triangle of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
"Your characterization of it as ‘a huge problem’ is an understatement," the lawmakers wrote.
"Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently stated that ‘[w]e are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years.’ Yet, it appears that the Biden-Harris Administration refuses to take meaningful action to stop the influx of illegal aliens to the border, and is instead releasing thousands into the interior."
Border officials encountered more than 172,000 migrants in March. The Biden administration has blamed the Trump administration for dismantling the legal pathways to asylum that it’s now trying to restore. Republicans have blamed the surge on Biden’s welcoming rhetoric regarding immigration and his efforts to roll back former President Donald Trump’s tough policies.
According to the lawmakers, members of their committee who traveled to the southern border last week "to observe firsthand the dire situation and hear directly from those affected by the border crisis" heard a troubling narrative.
"We heard from [Customs and Border Protection] officials who have had to divert scarce resources away from the agency’s primary national security mission and law enforcement duties to instead process illegal aliens," they wrote.
"During the trip, we observed pods in CBP facilities that were built to accommodate 33 individuals during the pandemic but were now holding over 500. We saw children who had been in CBP custody for at least 11 days. We heard that smugglers are using large groups of migrants to distract law enforcement as they smuggle narcotics across unsecured parts of the border.
"We talked to Border Patrol agents, state and local law enforcement officials, landowners, and others who begged for help to stop the flow of aliens," they stated.
The lawmakers concluded the crisis at the border "is a creation of the radical policies" of the administration — and asked for a meeting before April 30 "to discuss how the Biden-Harris Administration plans to end this unprecedented border catastrophe."