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Republicans criticize Biden for handling of the US-Mexico border during the first congressional hearing


Republican lawmakers criticized President Joe Biden's border policies on Wednesday in the first of a series of hearings on immigration.

They criticize Joe Biden for visiting the US-Mexico border 2:03

(CNN) --

Republican lawmakers on Wednesday lashed out at President Joe Biden's border policies and laid the groundwork for an impeachment case against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in the first of a series of immigration hearings since he the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives.

Over the course of Biden's presidency, Republicans have repeatedly criticized the administration for its handling of the US-Mexico border, where the influx of migrants has strained federal resources.

Critics argue that the record number of arrests demonstrates that Biden's policies are not working despite the administration largely using the same protocols as the Trump administration, primarily a Covid-19-era border restriction.

  • Daily migrant encounters at the US-Mexico border more than halve in January, DHS official says

Now, with a majority in the House of Representatives and leadership on key committees, Republicans hope to raise those criticisms in congressional hearings and tap into an issue that has been a political vulnerability for the president, beginning with the Judiciary Committee hearing on the House of Representatives this Wednesday.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan criticized Biden's border policies at the start of the panel's first hearing in this Congress, making clear the Republican's intent to underscore what the GOP has described as a crisis on the US-Mexico border over the course of the more than three hour hearing.

Jordan opened the hearing with a series of figures, including the record number of migrant encounters at the border and the number of people flagged for being on the terrorist watch list, arguing that the data is evidence of the Administration's failed border policies. .

US border authorities encountered migrants more than 2.3 million times along the US-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022, according to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data. English).

Of these, more than 1 million migrants were turned away at the border.


"These numbers make it clear that the Biden administration does not have operational control of the border," Jordan said.

"Month after month after month, we've set records for migrants coming into the country, and frankly, I think that's intentional."

  • House Republicans prepare groundwork for impeachment trial against Secretary Mayorkas, while moderates oppose

Republican lawmakers have argued that Mayorkas' claims of operational control of the border are unfounded and that the record arrests mark a dereliction of duty, two issues that came up during Wednesday's hearing and have been cited as reason to charge the Secretary of Homeland Security.

The House Judiciary Committee would have jurisdiction over an impeachment resolution.

The tone of the hearing did not sit well with New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, the committee's top Democrat, who lashed out at Republicans for their approach.

"I wish this hearing would start on a different note. This hearing is more of the same haphazard, chaotic style that we have come to expect from this new Republican majority," Nadler said in his keynote address.

"The first hearing will showcase the racist tendencies of the extreme pro-Trump Republican wing of the party," he added.

Over the course of the hearing, Democrats seized on disagreements over border policy within the Republican conference.

Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia called it "nothing more than a distraction."

The committee described Wednesday's hearing, the first in a series, as examining "border security, homeland security and how fentanyl has impacted American lives," but also served as a platform for Republican lawmakers to express their views. complaints about the Administration's immigration policies.

Brandon Dunn, co-founder of the Forever 15 Project, which seeks to raise awareness about fentanyl, Cochise County, Arizona Sheriff Mark Dannels, and El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego testified before the panel.

The House Judiciary Committee is one of many committees that will hold hearings on the situation on the US-Mexico border.

The House Oversight Committee also intends to hold a hearing on the issue and has already engaged in an exchange with the department about its witnesses.

  • How the Biden program will work to receive up to 30,000 immigrants per month in the US.

House Oversight Chairman James Comer, a Kentucky Republican, accused DHS of "refusing to allow" four patrol lead officers to testify at an upcoming oversight hearing to which Comer invited them the week of June 6. February.

However, DHS offered US Border Patrol Chief Raúl Ortiz, who oversees the four agents Comer requested, to testify before the House Oversight Committee and said it would make the heads of sector for a member-level briefing, according to a DHS letter to Comer obtained by CNN, citing their own assessment of who was appropriate to testify.

The Biden administration grapples with an unprecedented mass movement in the hemisphere

The Biden administration is facing an unprecedented movement across the Western Hemisphere that has contributed to an increase in migrants at the border, including more people from different countries, including Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

The United States is largely prohibited from deporting migrants to Cuba and Venezuela, presenting a unique set of challenges for the Department of Homeland Security.

In early January, the Biden administration expanded a parole program to include Haitians, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans and Cubans to provide a legal pathway for them to enter the United States instead of crossing the border.

The administration also made those nationalities eligible for Title 42, which means they can now be turned away by authorities if they don't apply for the program.

  • Biden presents new border plan that includes accepting up to 30,000 migrants per month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela

Since then, there has been a significant decline in migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela crossing the US-Mexico border illegally, according to the Department of Homeland Security, which attributed the drop to new border measures.

Encounters with migrants of those four nationalities were down 97% in January compared to December, officials previously told reporters, citing preliminary figures.

Border numbers often fluctuate depending on circumstances in the Western Hemisphere, so it's unclear how long the trend will hold.

However, Republican-led states have already sued the administration over the program.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with 19 other states, argued in a lawsuit that the administration failed to go through the notice and comment rulemaking process before instituting the rule.

As a result, the states are asking the court to block the program.

Administration officials responded immediately.

"It is incomprehensible that some states that benefit from these highly effective enforcement measures are trying to block them and cause more irregular migration at our southern border," Mayorkas said in a statement.

US-Mexico Border

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2023-02-02

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